Fitting Rooms of the Future

We live in a “buy, buy, buy” society (not to be confused with the ‘N SYNC top hit) where we are being constantly bombarded with products to purchase.  Companies have started coming up with creative ways to try to persuade us to buy their products.  There are “buy one, get one” sales, promotions for friend referrals, and online-exclusive deals.  But what about pushing people to buy a product by putting them in front of a “smart mirror”?

Oak Labs is partnering with the Polo Ralph Lauren flagship store in New York City to unveil its new smart fitting room,” featuring an RFID antenna in the mirror that picks up signals from RFID tags on the clothing.  What happens next is pretty amazing.  The mirror recognizes which items were brought into the room and displays images of the clothing on the mirror’s touch screen.  The customer can then “choose different sizes and colors, and even receive style recommendations.”  The concept is great:  by showing the customer all of their possible options while in the fitting room, there is a much greater chance that they will make a purchase.  Unlike shopping online, when the options for different colors and sizes of a specific garment is presented to the customer in the fitting room, it becomes easier for them to visualize the piece of clothing as it would look on them.  And unlike having to search around the store or ask employees for additional sizes, colors, or recommendations, the customer can see at once what is available.  It essentially is the middle ground between shopping in a store and online;  the best of both worlds.

However, I have to ask myself if I would always like this smart mirror.  Most of the time I go shopping for clothing, it’s for a specific purpose (but maybe I just don’t fit the typical woman stereotype).  I want to get in and out as quickly as possible.  Seeing other colors and options and recommendations in the fitting room probably wouldn’t slow me down, but I can imagine myself getting annoyed with all the flashy and fancy ways of trying to sell more to me.  Maybe I’d just get annoyed because I KNOW the store is trying to persuade me to buy more, and it’s likely to work.  Even if I run into a store with the intention of making a quick stop, becoming aware of all the other options would slow me down because, of course, now I’m going to want to see those.

The idea is great to use RFID technology to customize the customer’s shopping experience.  And without experiencing it for myself, it’s hard to say if I would like the smart mirror or think of it as being too much and over the top.  What do you think about an RFID enabled smart mirror?  To let us know, send an email to

(1) The Verge |