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RFID Systems for Enhanced Shopping Experiences

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000021115D
Publication Date: 2003-Dec-23

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Related People

Walter Reade: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

RFID (radiofrequency identification) technology offers the ability to provide many new services and conveniences in the retail environment. As has been demonstrated in the Metro Group Future Store in Rheinberg, Germany (Metro AG, Düsseldorf, Germany) described in a series of animations and other files at http://www.future-store.org/, shoppers can be guided electronically to find desired products that are tagged with RFID chips and whose locations are tracked by RFID readers in the store (e.g., smart shelves or other reader systems). Smart shopping carts with electronic displays, in communication with a retail computer system, can display a map associated with a shopping list downloaded by a shopper to identify a route to obtain the desired items. The smart cart, also equipped with RFID tags, can also verify the purchase of the items as they are placed in the cart and, if desired, communicate with a billing system to automatically bill the shopper for the purchases. In addition to the systems that have been demonstrated and widely discussed in the literature, several additional improvements can be expected as RFID technology begins to become more ubiquitous. In general, these concepts can be described in the context of guided shopping experiences for consumers, enhanced by the information flow enabled with RFID technology and other electronic systems.

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RFID Systems for Enhanced Shopping Experiences

Walter Reade and Jeff Lindsay
Nov. 10, 2003

Introduction

RFID (radiofrequency identification) technology offers the ability to provide many new services and conveniences in the retail environment. As has been demonstrated in the Metro Group Future Store in Rheinberg, Germany (Metro AG, Düsseldorf, Germany) described in a series of animations and other files at http://www.future-store.org/, shoppers can be guided electronically to find desired products that are tagged with RFID chips and whose locations are tracked by RFID readers in the store (e.g., smart shelves or other reader systems). Smart shopping carts with electronic displays, in communication with a retail computer system, can display a map associated with a shopping list downloaded by a shopper to identify a route to obtain the desired items. The smart cart, also equipped with RFID tags, can also verify the purchase of the items as they are placed in the cart and, if desired, communicate with a billing system to automatically bill the shopper for the purchases.

In addition to the systems that have been demonstrated and widely discussed in the literature, several additional improvements can be expected as RFID technology begins to become more ubiquitous. In general, these concepts can be described in the context of guided shopping experiences for consumers, enhanced by the information flow enabled with RFID technology and other electronic systems.

List Generation and Handling

The guided shopping experience of the future may begin with a list of shopping needs and desires. The list may be created in part by automatic processes, such as an RFID-enabled pantry or refrigerator that detects the need to restock a commonly purchased item or other item that the user has specified should be maintained in some specified quantity. Such systems may create a proposed shopping list that can be edited by the user using a PDA (personal digital assistant), cell phone, a computer, a Web page, and the like. The electronic list may be transmitted in advance to a designated retail store or electronic database accessible by the retail store, or may be stored in memory on a smart card, a writable RFID chip, PDA, or other compu­ter-readable memory. The list in electronic or other form may be carried by the shopper to the retail store, or transmitted electronically by e-mail, over the Internet, and so forth. In one varia­tion, the list is stored in a central database such as on a secure Web site that can be accessed by the user via a plurality of computer systems at various retail stores. Thus, the user can select a store to shop at and then enter a code or provide identification information, including RFID tags, to call up the shopping list information.

Once the list is loaded into a computer system at the retail environment, the list can be interpreted to assist the shopping experience of shopper. The retail computer system can electronic­ally display a ch...