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RFID for WHAT? 101 Innovative Ways to Use Radio Frequency Identification—Part 7: Enhancing the Customer Experience

Retail applications that boost sales.
By John Edwards
Aug 01, 2011Presented below is part seven of an 11-part series examining the use of radio frequency identification for unexpected applications. In this chapter, we consider RFID's use in the customer-service industry.

56. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Several high-end apparel retailers—including Mi-Tu in Hong Kong, Industry Standard in Columbus, Ohio, and Nick Tentis Living Retail Theatre in London—have introduced "magic mirrors." The RFID-enabled mirror reads the tags on clothing shoppers are trying on, and then displays product information, such as available sizes and colors in stock, and appropriate accessories. (See Hong Kong Shoppers Use RFID-Enabled Mirror to See What They Want, Magicmirror Could Assist Retail Customers, To Glimpse RFID's Future Down Under, Gaze Into the EPCmagic Mirror and Disney Gets It.)

57. Window Shopping
Krause Outlet, a German retailer, operates a 24-hour automated fashion show in store windows. High-end articles of clothing move on automated hanging racks. As each tagged garment reaches the window, the rack stops and turns that item around 180 degrees. A nearby RFID interrogator reads the tag attached to the garment and displays information about the item on a computer screen in the store window. Customers can use their mobile phones to call an automated hotline to purchase the item or put it on hold. (See Krause Outlet Takes Window-Shopping to the Ultimate Level.)

58. Smart Supermarket Carts
Shopping wagons equipped with RFID devices can communicate with readers or tags installed throughout a grocery store. Some carts, such as those used at a supermarket in Park City, Utah, provide customers with coupons, prizes and promotional materials. Other carts draw maps to show shoppers quick routes to items they can't find. (See Mobile RFID Device for Shoppers Boosts Store Sales and Spotlight on Five Hot Apps.)

59. An Out-of-Store Experience
Shoppers at Fly London, an upscale shoe and accessory retailer in Lisbon, Portugal, can see how they'll look wearing the merchandise on the busy streets of Tokyo, London or New York. The store features an RFID-enabled floor that reads the tagged shoes a customer is wearing and instructs a video system to display her image on a flat screen. The virtual trip is fun for customers, and the RFID system helps the company avoid out-of-stocks. (See Fly London Uses RFID to Manage Inventory, and Take Customers Around the World.)
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