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London Businesses Adopt Reward Technology's RFID Solution

The Dandy Lab, a men's boutique, says that the system has increased customer retention by 20 percent. Central Working, an office and workspace provider, has been using the system for the past two years.
By Claire Swedberg
Jan 19, 2016

For the past two months, men's clothing and accessories retailer The Dandy Lab has been using Reward Technology's RFID-enabled loyalty-card solution at its store on London's Brushfield Street. As a result, the company reports a 20 percent increase in customer retention—those returning to the store to make additional purchases—according to Julija Bainiaksina, The Dandy Lab's cofounder and head of innovation and technology.

Reward Technology, a U.K. startup, developed the RFID-based system to locate consumers carrying RFID-enabled badges (such as loyalty cards), link each person's ID number with data about his or her previous purchases, and then forward the appropriate content to that individual's phone via a text or e-mail. The solution was originally designed for the retail market, says Paul Sheedy, Reward Technology's chief executive, but is also being used by Central Working, a U.K. workspace provider, as well as by hotels and office buildings. To date, companies in the three sectors are piloting or are in the process of adopting the technology in order to capture data regarding the locations of individuals, and to then feed information back to them according to their location and interests.

At its facility on London's Crown Place, as well as at its other four worksites, Central Working installed an Impinj UHF RFID reader to identify members when they arrive.
The Reward Technology system serves as an alternative to Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon technology, Sheedy says. Sheedy says that prior to Reward Technology's establishment, he participated in a research project that found beacon technology was not very popular with female shoppers in their middle years—a key target group because they make up the majority of loyal customers in the grocery sector. That demographic group, his studies determined, did not want to stop to download apps for the stores in which they shop, or to have to turn on Bluetooth or Wi-Fi services to enable the system to locate them and forward content.

Ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID offers a less disruptive solution, Sheedy says. With Reward Technology's system, a shopper, upon receiving a loyalty card, provides a limited amount of information that includes how she would like to be reached with promotions and coupons (via text message or e-mail, or via an API that delivers a message in an app). The card comes with a built-in UHF Impinj Monza 6 RFID chip with a unique ID number linked to the individual's contact information. Reward Technology partners with Software AG, which provides the software that links the shopper's ID and location data with her shopping behavior data so that coupons and promotions are more specifically targeted to that individual according to her previous purchases.

At stores, Impinj xArray or xPortal readers are installed at the entrance. As an individual walks through or near that entrance, the reader captures the tag's ID number, and software accesses appropriate content to that ID, which is then forwarded to the individual through Reward Technology's system, via the chosen method of communication, such as text or e-mail. For instance, if the shopper typically purchases a certain type of clothing, the message might list products in that category that are on sale in the store.

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