December 1, 2011
Brazilian retailers get smarter with new technologies
Smart stores are coming to Brazil. Earlier this year, Australian surf brand Billabong outfitted inventory at a store in the city of Barueri with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, which transmit data through electromagnetic waves. The tags help the retailer run the store more efficiently—for example, they provide real-time inventory data and can help prevent theft, working in tandem with cameras at exits—but also change the experience for customers. Holding a tag up to a RFID antenna triggers the display of more information about the item on an iPad. In fitting rooms, an antenna reads tags on garments, then a touch screen on the mirror provides information on other colors and sizes in stock and suggests complementary items. The touch screen also lets shoppers text a salesperson to request different items and, using the interactive mirror, to email pictures of themselves wearing the items or post them to a social network.
Billabong is not our first smart store. Maria Filó, Farm and Lucy in the Sky (photo above), three womenswear retailers here, are using interactive mirrors and virtual look books for shoppers to browse. And more than two years ago, Pão de Açúcar, the biggest supermarket brand in Brazil, created a concept space at its flagship in São Paulo that includes Personal Shopper Assistant carts: These are equipped with GPS to help users navigate the space and also register all the items (which are RFID-enabled), showing the total cost of the cart on an LCD screen. Shoppers can then skip the checkout process and just pay the total before exiting. Watch for more innovation here in the near future as we get ready for the World Cup and the Olympics.
Image credit: superuber.com