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Rebecca Minkoff Store Uses RFID to Provide an Immersive Experience

The fashion apparel company's new store features RFID-enabled touchscreen mirrors in dressing rooms to identify which items a shopper has, as well as provide the option of requesting additional garments, accessories or different sizes, which the sales staff can then deliver to that fitting room.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 21, 2014

Rebecca Minkoff's new clothing store in New York City's SoHo neighborhood is slated to open today, featuring smart technology provided by eBay Inc.'s Retail Innovation team and RFID tags and consultation from Avery Dennison Retail Branding and Information Solutions (RBIS). Thanks to the RFID system, the store can now identify which garments a shopper brings into a fitting room, and he or she can then request other items displayed on the room's mirror, which also acts as a touchscreen. That, along with infrared (IR) sensors to anonymously identify where people move throughout the store, and the staff's use of iPads to transact purchases, is intended to make shopping as effortless and seamless as it is when shopping online, the retailer reports.

The point-of-sale and inventory management software, residing on a cloud-based server, was provided by Teamwork Retail, a Florida-based mobile-software company.

Rebecca Minkoff's company began working on this project with eBay about a year ago as it prepared to open its first brick-and-mortar store in SoHo. At that time, the firm wanted the store to be an integrated experience allowing shoppers to gain the benefits of seeing, touching and trying on garments, while also receiving suggestions related to other apparel they might like, and making payments via tablets carried by store personnel.

In one of the store's fitting rooms, Rebecca Minkoff, the creative director of her eponymous company, demonstrates the touchscreen mirror, which automatically recognizes tagged merchandise and identifies other available sizes, colors and accessories.
EBay Inc. has had a Retail Innovation team for about a year and a half, led by Healey Cypher. "My team is looking across the entire eBay portfolio," Cypher says, "looking at online technology and figuring out ways to infuse it into the real world." Although many consumers carry smartphones, which they use for browsing the Web, making phone calls and texting, he says the intent of stores like Rebecca Minkoff is to raise shoppers' attention away from their phones and up to the garments and wall-mounted mirrors that feature touchscreen surfaces displaying some of those garments.

With the technology, Cypher says, the SoHo store offers "a beautiful, seamless experience" in which shoppers can spend less time in the dressing rooms, while trying on more items, and making a fast purchase via a sales rep wielding an iPad. In a fitting room, the technology can also help a shopper adjust the lighting to match the conditions in which she plans to wear the garments, identify any other items—displayed on the touchscreen—that she may wish to try on, and contact a sales rep to have them brought to the fitting room.

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