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RFID at the Height of Fashion With Clothing, Shoe Companies

At the RFID Journal—AAFA Apparel & Footwear Summit, industry executives extolled RFID's benefits across all segments of the sector.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Aug 23, 2007Apparel and footwear companies are using RFID for a multitude of applications, everything from managing raw material quality to improving the shopping experience, according to speakers at the RFID Journal—AAFA Apparel & Footwear Summit held this week in New York City. Speakers described benefits across every aspect of apparel and footwear industry.

The young, hip customers at Industry Standard, a newly open clothing boutique in Columbus, Ohio, are taking advantage of the RFID-powered features found throughout the store, which carries high-end T-shirts, hoodies, jeans and athletic shoes that embody the "street couture L.A. skateboard culture," the store's cofounder Dominic Petrozzi told the event's attendees. Rather, they're embracing the technology because it helps them access and share product information with their buddies.

Industry Standard's regular customers carry RFID-tagged loyalty cards, enabling store staff to know who walks in the door so they can shout out a welcome. Interrogators mounted near dressing rooms read tag data on garments, and computer monitors inside the let customers access information about the designers who make the clothes they're trying on. Often, the clothing lines sold in the store are linked to famous hip-hop artists or skateboarders, of whom customers are big fans, so promoting the back-story—showing the artists or athletes wearing the same clothes customers are trying on, for instance—is a valuable sales tool.

A number retail innovators—including Dick Lockard, whose firm thebigspace is pioneering the use of RFID to enhance customer experiences using information displays embedded into mirrors (see Magicmirror Could Assist Retail Customers)—indicated that RFID is becoming an effective tool in building strong relationships between retailers and customers.

"Retailers are starting to approach RFID from a consumer-facing perspective because it's easy to see the benefits it provides," said Neco Can, the Industry Standard's other cofounder. "And then they can look at using RFID in their supply chain."

Lockard told attendees that a magicmirror display—which uses Avery Dennison RFID interrogators and software developed by thebigspace—can be deployed for $20,000 to $50,000, which does not cover the costs of tagging the products that the mirror's integrated interrogator reads to determine what information to display. To populate a magicmirror's display, the retailer can repurpose much of the product information—such as the source of the materials used, suggested accessory pairings and available colors—that it has already available on its Web site.


BOB BOB 2007-08-23 07:29:43 PM
RFID Bites The last thing I want when I walk into a store is some machine saying hello to me by name. The best thing that could happen is for Congress to ban the whole thing. RFID is just one more example of Big Brother watching every move we make. One day the sheep will awake.....

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