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Hong Kong Shoppers Use RFID-enabled Mirror to See What They Want

Mi-Tu, a high-end retailer, has installed RFID-enabled mirrors, catalogs and security systems designed to improve the shopping experience and boost sales.
By Claire Swedberg
Sales clerks can then greet the customer by name and recommend items consistent with her shopping interests. Upon entering the dressing room, a VIP customer can wave a VIP card near the dressing room interrogator. If qualified, the shopper can then receive discounted pricing information for each item being tried on.

Initially, Man recalls, some customers expressed concern about the dressing room system. "They wanted to know if there were hidden cameras," he says, "and they wondered, 'How do you know what item I have?'" Once they were familiar with the system and understood that it uses RFID technology rather than cameras, he says, "they have adapted very quickly without concerns."

Customers often enter a fitting room holding only a single item, but end up requesting additional items to try on along with that garment, based on options provided via the system.
"The customer doesn't want to be hassled by sales staff," Man explains. "They want privacy in their shopping experience. In this way, they can try items on in their own time, at their own pace. It is more comfortable."

For the third installation, Schmidt is developing a new system, called a G-Box. This system could reduce existing costs by almost 50 percent, Man predicts, because the software, antenna and interrogator will all be integrated into a single unit. "They would see their return on investment much more quickly," he states. Thus far, Mi-Tu has paid about US$80,000 per store for the system.

"Our objective is to bring out a more efficient and satisfactory service to our customers," says Katherine Ho, Mi-Tu's managing director. " We will continuously upgrade our system to satisfy each customer's need." She adds, "The system will definitely help drive our sales revenue," by enabling "proactive promotions of additional products."

RFID technology company Paxar (now a division of Avery Dennison) and merchandising solutions provider thebigspace developed a similar system, known as the magicmirror. Announced in 2006, this system allows retail customers to use an RFID-enabled mirror to receive automated customer service while trying on clothing (see Magicmirror Could Assist Retail Customers).

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