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Cotton On Lets You 'Try On Your Sound'

The Australian fashion retailer is offering a "mini gig" experience in its fitting rooms, with selected styles of tagged denim jeans triggering a playlist of music individually chosen to match specific clothing.
By Dave Friedlos
"The RFID tags are attached at store level, with staff simply sticking the RFID tag to existing swing tags [hangtags] on the clothes," says Ramadan. "We custom-developed a tag programmer, which consisted of a small controller, SkyeTek reader and Honeywell 1900 USB bar-code scanner. The operator simply scans the item bar code on the apparel swing tag and places the RFID tag on the 'target' printed on the box. The device then converts this to a GS1-format EPC number, and programs and verifies the tag."

With each changing room, the reader was mounted behind an access door, with just a small Laird Technologies RFID antenna and a passive infrared sensor to activate the system when someone enters that room. In total, readers were installed within 12 changing rooms.

The information is collected and monitored via UMD's cloud-based system, known as UMD-REAP Retail Edgeware Application Platform). In the future, Cotton On reports, the middleware could integrate with the retailer's RFID tag programmer and point-of-sale system for managing inventory, including the use of handheld interrogators for stocktaking.

In addition, Cotton On plans to roll out the $50,000 solution to other stores as they are refurbished—up to 40 sites nationwide—and to tag new apparel lines as they are introduced.

Coombes says shoppers can share their experience in the RFID-enabled fitting rooms with friends and Cotton On through Twitter by adding #tryonyoursound to their tweets. He says the customer feedback received in this way will help shape Cotton On's future application of RFID technology and further developments of the fitting rooms.

"All going well, we plan to roll this out in every major city in the world where there is a flagship Cotton On store," Coombes reports.

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