RFID Chips - Current Market Insights (Marketing Perspective)
RFID technology is currently being used for marketing purposes in the retail apparel industry, at events and festivals, and through proximity marketing. Marketing strategies range from providing data on sustainability of clothing items, reinventing the store fitting room experience, easily collecting data from consumers for future marketing campaigns, and marketing to consumers on a continual basis by meeting them where they are.
More RFID tags have been purchased for the retail apparel industry than for any other use. Cumulatively through 2018, 26,350 million tags have been used on apparel items. This accounts for 34.4% (26350/76644*100) of the 76,644 million total tags purchased. Although initially the tags were used for purposes of tracking stock and reducing theft, they are now being used for a variety of marketing strategies.
Consumers are becoming much more conscious of the products they are purchasing, and purchasing decisions are influenced by the values of the company producing and selling the products. When customers can learn details about a piece of clothing, such as the composition of the fabric, whether it was produced using sustainable practices, and whether it is fair-labor certified, they are more likely to make a purchase. Burberry is an example of a brand that is using RFID tags to provide information to customers on how items are produced.
A second way that RFID tags are being used in the apparel industry for marketing is in the use of smart fitting rooms. Fixed readers are installed in the fitting rooms, and can be tied into a screen. When the customer tries on an article of clothing with a tag, the screen displays details on how the item was produced and suggestions of other items that would go well with it. RFID tags are also being tied into smart mirrors. The mirror can work as a typical mirror, but can also let the customer see what the item would look like in a different color, or notify the attendant that they need a different size. The tags can even play music that matches the style of clothing being tried on. Retailers can also use the RFID tags to find products that aren't being purchased after being tried on to determine if there are issues with fit or construction. Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Rebecca Minkoff, and Neiman Marcus have all successfully implemented smart fitting rooms in at least some of their stores.
While RFID technology at music festivals is not new, some of the ways it is being used is. Initially, RFID technology was used to replace tickets and cash. It allowed attendees to flash a wristband to get in, and then they were able to purchase food, beverages, and merchandise without having to carry a wallet or credit card. Now the technology is being expanded beyond the basics to provide personalized experiences for attendees and marketing opportunities for sponsors. By using RFID enabled bands to encourage attendees to participate in raffles, giveaways and games, sponsors at events are able to collect data on attendees unobtrusively, and can use that data for future marketing campaigns.
When Food & Wine was looking to upgrade the festival experience for attendees, they looked to RFID technology. Attendees were give SavorBands which allowed them to track the foods and beverages they tried at various food festivals and receive recipes from their favorites. This created a connection with the restaurants/chefs who made the food but also allowed for the collection of data. Knowing which dishes were liked the most and which specific attendees accessed the recipes provided invaluable marketing information to the sponsors of the event.
Often marketing takes place in a specific location. Customers read an ad in a magazine, see a post on social media, or are given a flier which often ends up in the garbage. RFID can take proximity, or location-based, marketing to the next level. By giving potential customers an RFID-enabled item that they carry with them, the marketing can follow them as well. Every time the potential customer comes into a specified area, the RFID is automatically scanned and a video, image, or message can be delivered directly to the customer with tremendous personalization.
Two examples of proximity marketing, as well as emotional branding, at work are the Battersea #LookingForYou campaign and the Support Your Marathoner Campaign at the NYC Marathon. Battersea created a campaign where a dog that was looking for a home appeared on screens every time someone carrying a RFID-enable flier came into proximity. This meant that the person would see the same dog following them, the same way it might in reality. After a certain number of times, the person received a message about Battersea.