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Pop-up Experience Brings RFID Solution to Stores

The system, from The Lion'esque Group spinoff Field Test, tracks the movement of customer traffic and enables shoppers to create wish lists of products they see in a temporary environment.
By Claire Swedberg

Throughout the years, The Lion'esque Group has seen the growth of pop-up-style storefronts at which brands seeking permanent spaces for storefronts conduct a shorter-term event in which they can sample the market while bringing their products to customers in a physical site. What started as very short events spanning a few weeks or a month has evolved to three- to six-month deployments, Gonzalez says, and the number of installations is increasing. The Lion'esque Group produced 21 such stores last year, a quarter of which transitioned permanently to the same site they used for the pop-up.

An important aspect of these deployments is the use of technology to understand the number of customers the stores attract, as well as purchases. The Lion'esque Group's customers have used very simple systems of motion detection that count the individuals entering the store (that number could be compared against sales data), as well as much more complex—and high-cost—solutions that could include cameras, motion sensors and RFID.

What Gonzalez envisioned was an automated system that could be more holistic, capturing data regarding traffic movement throughout the store, as well as enabling customers to collect information about what they viewed. She sought to develop a system that would be easy to deploy at a temporary site. To that end, Gonzalez formed Field Test and partnered with Impinj and d4c to create a system that, she says, helps to enable a shopping experience for customers—similar to the experience of online shopping. With the resultant RFID system, she reports, customers can create a history of what they view, while retailers and brands can view what kind of interest each product generates.

"To me, it's like adding another layer to make a partnership [with brands and retailers] more successful," says Gonzalez. Companies could use the acquired data to better understand how many shoppers visit, whether or not they make purchases, and the times and days of greatest traffic. Ultimately, such information could help them to better strategize how and where they sell the products.

The store, located at Water Tower Place, will feature 11 brands selling a variety of furnishings in a home environment that includes living and dining areas, as well as a study, a bedroom and a bar. The Lion'esque Group will offer keys (at launch, 800 such keys will be available) with embedded Impinj Monza R6 chips. Each key's chip will have a unique ID encoded on it. When a customer arrives at the store, he or she will take a key that will not be linked to that shopper's identity. The store will contain multiple zones based on reads from an Impinj xSpan reader. An Impinj Speedway Revolution reader and two antennas will be used in the key bar.

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