RFID tries for cosmetic appeal

RFID tries for cosmetic appeal

TOKYO: Shoppers at a Tokyo department store are getting a helping hand with their make-up as part of a three-week-long test of RFID technology.

The Mitsukoshi store in Tokyo's Ginza district is hosting a trial of RFID tags attached to lipstick, eye shadow and blush. In one part of the trial, a kiosk provides customers with a simulation of what they would look like wearing various make-up. The 19 items available all have RFID tags attached. Shoppers just need to wave them over a sensor and the simulator detects which product has been selected. It's up to a computer to do the rest.

The trial also seeks to keep track of which samples are most frequently selected by shoppers browsing for products. Each time one of 49 tagged items is removed from a display stand the system takes note. The information is compiled into marketing data for the store.

Alongside the display case, another RFID system displays product data on a PC screen when a product is waved over a sensor. A part of the trial provides customers with recommendations and information from other shoppers. Make-up items with RFID tags attached can be waved over a reader to call-up a list of comments on the product from other shoppers.

Working with Mitsukoshi on the trial is Fujitsu, which developed the majority of the hardware used; Toppan Printing, which made the RFID tags; and cosmetics company, Shiseido. The trial is sponsored by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and runs until February 11 at the Mitsukoshi main store in Ginza. A similar trial will run until February 12 at the Mitsukoshi store in Sakae, Nagoya.

The trial is taking place alongside a year-long project in the Ginza area that will see around 10,000 RFID tags and other sensors deployed. The sensors are all encoded with a unique ID number which terminals can cross-reference with a database to call up location-related information.

The trial terminal at the Mitsukoshi store features a 3.5-inch OLED touch-panel screen and is about the size of a PDA.

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