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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

To make all of this possible, a single Impinj Speedway xPortal reader with two built-in antennas are installed in each of three dressing rooms, explains William Toney, Avery Dennison RBIS' head of market development for global RFID. In addition, he says, employees are equipped with iPads, and garments are being tagged.

When goods arrive from the distribution center, the store's staff print and encode labels made with Avery Dennison AD-320 RFID inlays for apparel and footwear, as well as AD-172 inlays for jewelry, on a Zebra Technologies desktop RFID printer. In the future, Toney says, the items may be tagged at Rebecca Minkoff's local distribution center before being shipped to the SoHo store.

During the next phase of the deployment, the store is considering the use of RFID for inventory management, whereby an employee might carry a handheld reader around the sales floor to make sure it is fully stocked.
According to Cypher, the Impinj RFID reader built into light fixtures above each fitting room provides coverage without being visible. The room's walls have RF-shielding paint to ensure that no stray reads are captured from outside that room.

When a customer brings clothes into a fitting room to try on, the reader captures the ID numbers of the garments' tags and forwards that data to the Teamwork Retail software, according to Joshua Stanphill, the software company's director of marketing. Based on those tag IDs, the touchscreen mirror displays images of those garments, as well as other data, such as additional sizes and colors available at the store, along with suggestions of other products that would complement that apparel. The shopper is also invited to select lighting—evening or sunlight, for example—so she can view the garments in a variety of conditions in which she anticipates wearing them.

In addition, a customer can opt to provide her cell phone number, which she would input at the touchscreen, if she would like to create a record of the items she tried on, based on the RFID tags read at that time. She would then receive a text message containing a link to a loyalty account set up for her. That account allows the shopper to view what she has tried on in the past, and to receive updates regarding future sales on those or similar items.

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