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Putting information—and hardware—in customers` hands
Clothing manufactured in an environmentally friendly fashion requires a lot of explanation. How was the fabric obtained? What chemicals were used in manufacturing? How were the chemicals recycled or disposed of? These are just some of the many questions eco-conscious consumers want answered.
That`s where mobile technology steps in at Clothing for a Better Earth. In a pilot test at the Carousel Center Mall in Syracuse, N.Y., the merchant is using technology from Destiny USA, Time Domain and Terakeet to give shoppers all the information they could want, as well as recommendations of products that would complement the article of clothing in hand.
The retailer embeds an RFID tag in "hang tags" attached to each article of clothing. When a shopper enters a dressing room, a monitor in the room recognizes the tag and displays the information about the clothing and product recommendations through a Wi-Fi link to the store`s informational web site and point-of-sale system.
Shoppers also can use one of 24 iPod Touch mobile devices with RFID apps and embedded RFID tags as they browse the store. Pointing the mobile device at an article of clothing automatically displays on the device all the information.
Headed by Destiny USA, the vendors are doing all the work at this point, testing the system for deployment in more stores and malls. Destiny is picking up the tab, which it declines to reveal.
"Customers have said they like this because there is so much more information; plus the sales associate might not have every answer top of mind," says Randy Federgreen, president of Clothing for a Better Earth. "There`s a lot of questions about the integrity and conscience of the clothes. Mobile technology gives us the opportunity for us to talk about it."