Magic mirror brings RFID back into retail

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on May 22, 2007

Magic mirror brings RFID back into retail

The retail and apparel product identification systems provider Paxar has unveiled its new consumer facing item-level RFID system, called the 'MagicMirror', which aims to help apparel retailers reach customers on a more emotional level and positively influence their purchasing decisions.

This is not the first time that radio frequency identification (RFID) tags have been taking into the fitting rooms of apparel stores with the aim of improving customer service, though. As early as 2002 a similar idea was trialled by Prada in New York, although the trial was later closed down without a full-scale roll-out (see 29 Apr. 2002).

MagicMirror on the wall... The MagicMirror, rather than identifying individual customers with RFID tags (which does tend to upset ill-informed privacy enthusiasts), electronically identifies each article of clothing in the store. When a customer or sales associate holds an RFID-tagged item in front of the MagicMirror, it automatically displays detailed product information including brand messaging, a garment description, size and colour availability, as well as mix-and-match guides that suggest other items for accessorising.

When installed in the fitting room, customers can also ask for prompt assistance from a salesperson by simply touching the MagicMirror, meaning that they don't have to leave the fitting room until they are ready to do so.

The technology By partnering with experience design partner TheBigSpace, and technology partners Motorola and Infosys, Paxar developed the turnkey system and integrated its own custom-designed RFID labels with TheBigSpace's rich media and content, Motorola's RFID readers and handheld devices, and Infosys' Smart Visual Merchandising applications.

"With the RFID MagicMirror, retailers have an opportunity to connect personally with customers who have become more perceptive about the products and services they buy. Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy, and they're accustomed to using technology in their daily lives, especially when shopping," explained Chris Robins, vice president of trade marketing and a member of the global RFID team at Paxar.

Online and in-store integration RFID-based retail systems such as the MagicMirror are likely to become widespread in the future, as they hold the promise of enhancing the often elusive and expensive customer service sought by retailers. When employed in the fitting room environment, MagicMirror changes an often under-used (and under-sold) back-space into a key decision and service area.

And when combined with store operations and e-commerce processes it can help to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience whether in-store or online.

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