Executive Briefings

RFID to Help London Retailer's Customers Match Fabrics, Furniture

U.K. retailer John Lewis is preparing to launch an RFID-enabled pilot at its flagship store in London by early next month that will allow shoppers to create an image of a specific chair or sofa with the fabric covering of their choice, using toy-size pieces of furniture and swatches of fabric.

The system includes a low-frequency reader built into a counter, and passive tags attached to tiny models of furniture and samples of fabric.

The store already offers customers a service known as Any Shape, Any Fabric, by which potential buyers at the store can proceed to a display on the wall and select cards depicting various styles of chairs and sofas, as well as cards dedicated to specific fabric types and colors. They can then manually input the details printed on the cards into a computer at the store, in order to view what that piece of furniture might look like with the fabric selected. 

However, John Lewis' innovation team, headed by John Vary, the company's innovation manager of IT, wanted a technological option to make the experimentation with shapes and colors simpler and more fun.

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The system includes a low-frequency reader built into a counter, and passive tags attached to tiny models of furniture and samples of fabric.

The store already offers customers a service known as Any Shape, Any Fabric, by which potential buyers at the store can proceed to a display on the wall and select cards depicting various styles of chairs and sofas, as well as cards dedicated to specific fabric types and colors. They can then manually input the details printed on the cards into a computer at the store, in order to view what that piece of furniture might look like with the fabric selected. 

However, John Lewis' innovation team, headed by John Vary, the company's innovation manager of IT, wanted a technological option to make the experimentation with shapes and colors simpler and more fun.

Read Full Article