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Advertising Gets Personal With RFID System for Shoppers

A newly launched solution from LUV Advertisements uses RFID to identify the interests of a loyalty card-carrying shopper, and displays video content most appropriate for that individual.
By Claire Swedberg
Tags: Retail

During a pilot, Contessa says he expects a retailer to distribute at least 10,000 UHF RFID tags built into loyalty cards provided by LUV. Once issued the card, a shopper would be prompted to input personal data to be stored in the retailer's management software. This data could include gender, shopping interests, age range and average income.

The customer's location and movements within the store could be collected, in order to create a profile indicating how long he or she stayed in a specific aisle, or near particular product types. When the shopper uses the RFID loyalty card to purchase merchandise, his or her purchasing history could also be stored with the card tag's unique ID number.

The primary value for a retailer is in providing a personalized message on the digital signage, however. In this case, as a customer nears a digital monitor, its reader captures his or her card's tag ID and forwards that information to LUV's cloud-based software. Based on that person's demographic data and shopping history, the monitor would then display advertising most likely to be of interest.

If several people are near a digital monitor, each with his or her own RFID-enabled loyalty card, the reader captures all of the unique IDs and the software creates a "virtual person" with all the demographics and purchasing history combined. The software then determines the advertising message that would interest that virtual person most effectively, and displays that message while those shoppers are within read range.

LUV provides its solution using a Software as a Service (SaaS) model to include access to cloud-based data such as analytics, as well as LCD screens, readers and reader antennas, a microcomputer to receive reader data and forward it to the server, and the RFID tags built into loyalty cards—all for a monthly fee. The readers can be installed in ceilings or on walls, and can be directed to read tags in specific directions. The reader power can be adjusted, thereby changing the read range, Contessa says.

The company is also offering a health-care version of its solution that could be used at hospitals or nursing homes. In this case, rather than advertising, information of specific interest to a patient or visitor could be displayed on a screen within certain rooms, once that person's tag was interrogated. For example, if a patient wants to receive messages from loved ones, the system could display those messages as he or she, for instance, is moved into surgery. The system could also be linked to additional hospital services—for example, adjusting music to that patient's liking as he or she enters a room.

"Retail is first," Contessa says, and the company is speaking with supermarkets and big-box stores now, though it intends to begin working with hospitals and nursing homes in approximately a month. "The platform has benefits for lots of different markets," he states.

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