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Polo Ralph Lauren Store Gets Smart Fitting Rooms

The interactive fitting-room technology, provided by Oak Labs, is part of Ralph Lauren's adoption of RFID for customer-facing applications and inventory tracking.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 20, 2015

Ralph Lauren Corp. opened eight RFID-enabled interactive fitting rooms this week at its Polo Ralph Lauren flagship store located on New York City's Fifth Avenue. The company plans to install such fitting rooms in additional stores as well, following an evaluation of their effectiveness at the New York location.

The interactive technology, provided by startup Oak Labs, consists of a smart mirror with a touchscreen and a built-in RFID reader to identify the RFID tag of every garment brought into a fitting room.

When a customer takes a garment into a Polo Ralph Lauren fitting room, the RFID antenna and reader installed behind the mirror identify that item.
"We're testing it first at 711 [Fifth Avenue] to get feedback and make adjustments, and figure out how best to incorporate it into a larger part of the Polo experience," says a Ralph Lauren spokesperson who has asked to remain unnamed. "As we work to refine it, it will start rolling out to Polo concept stores."

The three-story store includes a full-range of Polo products, as well as a coffee shop and The Polo Bar, Ralph Lauren's first restaurant in New York. According to a New York Post article, the store is aimed at hip, young customers.

The smart mirror is part of that appeal for a young audience expecting a memorable experience. The Oak Fitting Rooms system consists of four fitting rooms in the women's department and four in the men's department. All products have EPC Gen 2 passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags attached to their sale-price labels, and the unique ID number encoded to the tag links to the stock-keeping unit (SKU)-based information about that particular product.

When a customer takes a garment into one of the fitting rooms, the RFID antenna and reader installed behind the mirror capture the ID number of that clothing item's tag. Software then displays a prompt for the shopper to select a lighting theme. Because the software identifies the ID of each tag linked to the product's SKU, the lighting options are customized to fit each brand's aesthetic, such as "Fifth Avenue Daylight," "East Hampton Sunset" and "Village Candlelit Dinner."

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