A German department store is trying a new RFID system in its men’s department, where it’s tagged 30,000 pieces with Smart Chip labels. When shoppers take garments into the dressing room, an integrated display shows the customer price, materials, and care instructions, as well as sizes and colors available. Later this year, the screens will also show complimentary pieces, a great help if you’re not good at matching clothes or are color blind.
The parent company, METRO Group, already uses RFID along its supply chain and to improve warehouse management, and plans to use the front-of-store RFID tags to speed up inventory replenishment and to help employees locate products faster. Their press release says that “If the customer desires, the Smart Chip will be removed by employees once the product has been paid for.” (Why would you ever leave an RFID tag on once you’ve bought the item?)
We’re not among the anti-RFID crowd in retail applications like this, where it’s used to better track inventory and match real world items to a database of related information. In fact, we’d like to see even more features built into something like this. For example, the ability to request alternative sizes or complementary pieces via touchscreen, so that you can hone in on the right garment without making multiple trips to the dressing rooms. Or to be able to save lists of clothes you like into a wish list or database that you can access online later.
“RFID gives new kind of shopping experience to Galeria Kaufhof customers” [fibre2fashion.com - warning: press release]