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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

For now, Cypher indicates, his company's sole focus is centered on providing products to Ralph Lauren. His firm has designed the smart fitting room to be aesthetically pleasing and useful for consumers, he says, noting that the touchscreen also works as a standard mirror, whether or not RFID is present. "We don't believe in building technology simply for the sake of technology," he states.

According to Cypher, once a customer brings a garment into the fitting room, the conversion rate to a purchase is high. At that point, the fitting room technology can serve as a way not only to make that sale more likely, but also to prompt further purchases by offering items that can accompany that product. Just as online merchants like Amazon are constantly upgrading their systems to make the purchase of goods faster and easier for customers, he says, the smart mirror technology and mobile point-of-sale functionality at the Polo Ralph Lauren store promises to do the same at the physical store.

"Anecdotally," Cypher says, "we find that the associates and consumers love it."

Oak Labs is still testing RFID readers and antennas from several companies, Cypher reports. As such, he declines to name the RFID hardware providers for the mirrors now in use at the flagship store.

According to Cypher, the system is able to do more than just make shopping more efficient for customers. It also offers analytical data that Ralph Lauren can use to better understand consumer behavior and stock its stores accordingly. "Traditionally, the fitting room was a black box," he says, but the smart mirror collects such information as which items are frequently brought into the room together, what shopping interests are prevalent at certain times or on given days, and which items are popular with customers of a specific language preference.

"We have been working with Ralph Lauren for about four months," Cypher reports. "They are an amazing brand," he says, citing reasons including the fact that the retailer had previously adopted RFID tags for inventory tracking, and had already installed Ethernet connections and RF shielding in fitting rooms.

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