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RFID Spices Up Sales for Maille Mustard

At the company's boutique in London, a system involving RFID-tagged spoons has increased customer engagement and raised the rate of sales.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 10, 2016

Maille, a purveyor of specialty mustards, is planning to launch an RFID-based solution at its stores in Paris and New York, enabling customers to digitally record their favorite products. The system has already been implemented at Maille's London location to allow patrons to use an RFID-tagged spoon to indicate the flavors of mustard they sampled and liked during their visit. Maille can present each patron with a record of those products he or she favored, and thereby create customer engagement that lasts after that individual leaves the store.

The system, designed by U.K.-based creative agency Mr. President, has been up and running at the Maille boutique, in London's Piccadilly Arcade, since May 2015. The dates of the deployments in Paris and New York have not yet been decided, says Laura Jordan-Bambach, a creative partner at Mr. President. (Maille did not respond to requests for comment.)

When shoppers visit the tasting counter at Maille's London boutique, they first help themselves to an RFID-tagged Discovery Spoon.
Approximately 70,000 shoppers visit Maille's London store every year (200 each day), many of whom are tourists from other parts of the country or from around the world. But engagement with those customers typically ends once they leave the site. After sampling different flavors and making their purchases, they might never have the opportunity to return to a Maille dedicated store again. So Unilever, Maille's parent company, worked with Mr. President and production company Hirsch & Mann to develop a way to create a link between customers and the mustard brand that would last beyond a shopper's store visit.

The solution, Jordan-Bambach says, features wooden mustard spoons with integrated Sparkfun SEN 09417 passive 125 kHz RFID tags. The circular tags measure 16 millimeters (0.63 inch) in diameter and 1.85 millimeters (0.07 inch) in thickness—small enough to be embedded in a spoon without being perceptible to users. The memory of each tag's EM Microelectronic EM4001 chip is encoded with a unique ID number.

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