How RFID Blocking Paint Is Enhancing Enterprise Asset Intelligence

We love coming across stories like this – stories about organisations putting RFID to work in highly-innovative ways in order to gain greater intelligence about their assets. This recent story is about a company making use of RFID blocking paint of all things. And no, it’s not to prevent data, credit card or identity theft – it is to generate incredible insight about its customers and increase customer engagement, and product sales, as a result.

Whilst many retailers are looking to RFID technology to reduce shrinkage and overcome omni-channel challenges, a US luxury fashion retailer, Rebecca Minkoff, is taking the technology a step further and applying RFID blocking paint to its fitting rooms. Why? It wants to know exactly what assets each customer has in their small fitting room in order to deliver a highly-personalised shopping experience.

Enhancing the customer experience

This experience starts from the moment a customer walks into a digitally-connected store where a large smart mirror promotes the latest product news, images from runway shows, and more. The customer can then tap this mirror to begin an interactive experience such as selecting products liked, and requesting items to be put in a fitting room. They can also even order a drink and download the mobile app straight to their device. Then, when the shop assistant has made the fitting room ready, they’ll receive a text message.

Upon entering the fitting room, the customer will have both the physical items requested as well as digital styling tips for these items displayed on the fitting room’s smart mirror. If the customer needs a different colour or size, they can simply request it via the mirror and a shop assistant will promptly bring in the request. Payment for items can also be done in the fitting room via the mobile app and their purchase will be ready to collect on the way out the door. And even if they decide not to buy anything, they can keep a digital record of the exact items and sizes they tried on for later.

Solving the business pain points

Like most item-level tracking RFID projects, this one started out by trying to solve some of the common pain points experienced by retailers. Among these were a frustrating and often awkward interaction between shop assistants and customers in change rooms; reducing the time consuming task of item [asset] discovery; the difficulty keeping track of what customers have tried on, and overall, the need to increase customer stickiness.

The RFID solution

Whilst the complex project took more than a year to develop, the principles are fairly straightforward. First, all merchandise was tagged with an RFID to link between the physical product with its digital record in the retailers ecommerce and inventory system. Then all fitting rooms were equipped with fixed readers. However – and this where the RFID blocking paint comes in – in order for the system to know exactly what items were coming into a specific fitting room, the retailer also had to prevent the readers from detecting items in a neighbouring room. So RFID blocking paint was employed to help filter out signals from other rooms and accurately identify what items were in which room. The retailers’ back-end software then automatically builds an inventory, based on the RFID tag data, and displays it in an engaging and personalised user interface on the touchscreen mirror – ready for the customer to interact with and complete their transaction.

The benefits – not just smoke and mirrors!

Not only does this system enable the retailer to have 100% accuracy and visibility of their inventory at all times, the biggest payout is the way RFID technology enables the retailer to transform the customer experience. What is more, the system will be able to collect valuable intelligence about what assets customers are interacting with, what they are wanting and what they are discarding. Customers can also choose to share their history to help the retailer provide even more personalised service over time. And it appears that these benefits are not lost on other retailers with some following suit including Ralph Lauren Polo whose fitting rooms are getting a similar makeover.

Bridging the gap with enterprise asset intelligence

Whether you are a retailer or a resources company, the challenge is to bridge the gap – the gap between data and assets, between the digital and the physical world, between corporate strategy and operational reality. We see enterprise asset intelligence technology as the missing link. By connecting the dots and directly linking assets with all the information held about them across your organisation you can build capabilities for asset intelligence – intelligence to serve up better customer experiences based on data you can trust.

Can we help?

Contact an assetDNA consultant at Relegen on +61 (0)2 9998 9000 or email to – we are here to help you evaluate the array of technology options available to you for your next enterprise asset intelligence project.