RFID for inventory and retail
2018-05-28 11:36:08

In fact, Retail is rapidly changing and entering an exciting new phase. But there is much work to be done to effectively deliver on consumer's demands for a better, faster, more engaging shopping experience.

Inventory management becomes more complex in retail’s next chapter. Stores need to be reimagined to prioritize convenience and experience, so the associates need to know exactly where inventory is at all times. A retailer’s digital experience needs to dovetail seamlessly with store offerings, so accurate data and a wide product selection is critical to ensuring sales.

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To thrive in this new paradigm, the most forward-thinking retailers and their manufacturing partners are leveraging item-level radio frequency identification (RFID) to optimize their inventories and know exactly what they have in stock so they can make it available to satisfy today’s demanding consumers. Through inventory visibility, RFID implementation helps retail companies capture the business of customers who shop at both stores and online by providing a solid foundation to launch Omni channel innovations. Particularly as store fulfillment and click-and-collect programs rise in popularity, inventory visibility is an important supply chain asset. RFID instills confidence in those who touch inventory at all levels — from management down to store associates —and is the crucial enabler of that product being located quickly for the customer who wants it.

A Retailer Perspective

Much press discussing the RFID technology of new innovations what will really create memorable and convenience store experiences.   The ability to track merchandise, not only for consumers but for employees to looking for products, RFID brings real-time inventory visibility.

As such, RFID has been adopted and used by some of the world’s largest retailers to help them answer two important questions in inventory management — “What do I have?” and “Where is it?” According to Auburn University studies, RFID has been proven in several use cases to reduce inventory cycle time by 96 percent and increases a retailer’s confidence in SKU-level item availability helping boost sales from 2 to 20 percent. Now you can use NFC tag for check out. Each product with an NFC tag from manufacturer to consumers, you can know “what it is ?" where it is ? and "how much it is ?" consumers scan the NFC tag for payment and take away, it saves much time for check-out.

One RFID power user, Macy’s, has been a trailblazer in RFID implementation to support Omni channel innovations. Last year, the company made a commitment that they will use RFID on all of their merchandise by the end of 2017. Therefore, all vendors have been asked to supply merchandise with RFID tags for true source-to-store visibility.

According to a survey from the Platt Retail Institute, Macy’s has shown solid ROI. Inventory markdowns have decreased. Full-price sales increased 2.6 percent. The orders of RFID-enabled merchandise was 6.1 percent more than for non-enabled merchandise.  In 2016 Kurt Salmon's study pointed out, RFID technology will enhanced inventory accuracy and the shopper can be easily find out the specific products what they want  and  increase sales over than 25 percent

A Manufacturer Perspective

Leading manufacturers also had success with RFID tagging, particularly when the tags are applied at the manufacture. These brands are leveraging the technology to improve their inbound receipt and outbound validation processes.

Women’s outerwear brand Herman Kay — another RFID power user — is just one example of a brand owner that implementation of RFID technology. Only in four months, Herman Kay completed their deployment of item-level RFID and successfully responded to a request from their retailer partner, Macy’s, to adopt RFID for all outwear.

To expedite the process of creating and applying RFID hangtags to items at their manufacturing , that human error was virtually eliminated —  It used to be manual validation and selection. For example, garments that are blue, black and charcoal hanging in plastic bags in a warehouse and  all look the same. But now RFID can  confirm styles and colors for each plastic bags, and more importantly, RFID know the location .

Ultimately, RFID helps both retailers and manufacturers improve inventory management and create seamless shopping experiences. By evolving their business processes, they essentially create a sustainable model that keeps up with the changing behaviors of consumers well into the future.