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In-store RFID Allows Shoppers to Learn More About Shoe Selections

While browsing through shoe displays at 32 of Bon-Ton's U.S. department stores, shoppers can use their near field communication (NFC)-enabled phones to learn more about each style, as well as whether a specific size and color is available at the store—and, if not, how they can most efficiently acquire the shoes they are seeking.

Last month, the company launched the RFID-based solution from Thinaire, including Thinaire's software platform and Smartrac RFID tags, made with NXP Semiconductors' NTAG chips, attached to each display shoe. The department store plans next month to evaluate customer responses to the solution, and to determine how it has affected sales.

Bon-Ton operates 273 stores that sell apparel, bedding, beauty products and houseware. To compete with online shopping, it is critical that the stores be able to provide customers with easy access to product information (in this case, a pair of shoes) in the size and style being sought. If the product is not available at a store, the shopper's NFC-enabled phone will list inventory information for that product at other nearby Bon-Ton locations, or provide the opportunity to complete an online sale through the retailer's mobile commerce channel.

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