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C. Wonder Uses Automation to Accessorize Store

C. Wonder outfits Manhattan store with cutting-edge technology, including Control4 automation and RFID systems.>

Dan Daley
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“We had to figure out how to write the special rules needed to tell a network-managed switch when to open a specific port on the network to allow one of the Control4 devices to operate on it,” he explains. “You’re basically taking a high-end residential automation system and applying it to a Layer 3, enterprise-class network. We had to write a lot of our own drivers for that. It’s a lot of work but going forward we’ll be able to apply that programming to future stores.”

RFID Plays Large Role
That melded network was applied well beyond the dressing rooms. RFID plays a large role in C. Wonder; RFID chips in the store’s product’s tags will initially interact with RFID scanners located at the main entrance for several functions, including loss prevention (when a tag is scanned as unpaid, instead of alarms going off the music system plays a predetermined signal song to alert store security without alarming shoppers or tipping off the “boosters”) and inventory control, the latter by linking to the store headquarters’ main ERP database.

Future applications include informing staff that VIP customers have entered the store and allowing transaction-less sales to take place without engaging the staff, with charges appearing on customers’ credit cards automatically; Kiosks centrally located within each store outfitted with an embedded 19-inch Samsung B1940ER SyncMaster LCD; an RFID scanner in the kiosk reads the tag presented by a shopper and can provide information such as pricing and manufacturer, as well as offering related information like accessories that can lead to additional sales.

As cool as the C. Wonder stores are, they are equally calculated. “Everything, especially the dressing room technology, is all about keeping people in the stores as long as possible,” says Hernandez. “In fact, one of the concerns that came up as we were reading about the stores on fashion blogs was that everyone liked that so much that we might have problems getting people out of the dressing rooms.”

In a tough retail climate when most stores worry about getting shoppers into the dressing room, that’s a good problem for C. Wonder to have.