Thinking Outside the Big-Box: Retailers Are Winning With RFID Technology

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August 2, 2016

For many savvy brands, the key to executing a successful agile retail strategy is RFID technology

There has been a lot of hype recently for a concept called “Agile Retailing”, which applies agile software development methods and a lean manufacturing approach to the retail business model. This is an important shift in business philosophy, but the concept of being agile is far from a new idea for anyone who has worked in retail for any length of time. Survival in the traditionally fast-paced, slim-margin retail business requires speed and adaptability, in addition to efficiency.

In a nutshell, Agile Retailing is intended to personalize the shopping experience, leverage technology and enable retailers to respond more quickly to consumer’s changing needs. For many savvy retail brands, the key to executing this strategy is RFID technology.

Major global brands like Macy’s, Marks & Spencer, Target and Zara rely on retail RFID systems for reduced out-of-stocks, improved omni-channel fulfillment, and greater inventory visibility and accuracy. In other words… they are leveraging RFID to create a better overall customer experience and achieve competitive advantage. Big-box retailer Ikea even used RFID technology recently to create a completely virtual shopping cart; not online, but in a temporary pop-up store, in a unique break from tradition.

Deployment of RFID in retail — both throughout the supply chain and in-store — has been proven to increase product availability, which is essential to improving sales figures. Customers can’t buy their favorite products if the right style, size and color can’t be quickly located in inventory. And yet, inventory is constantly moving around the store; from the back room, to the rack, to the fitting room and back to the sales floor.

The installation of discreet, fixed RFID systems is enabling today’s retailers to track their entire inventory in real-time, all the time. The collection of reliable, repeatable data not only improves inventory accuracy and SKU assortment, but also provides valuable business analytics. A more accurate accounting of what is in the store, when it moves and where it’s located at all times delivers key insights. For example, tracking which items were taken into the fitting rooms and returned to the rack allows an accurate reporting of conversion rates.

Armed with accurate, real-time inventory information, agile retailers score significant advantages in speed, efficiency and adaptability — the keys to survival in a challenging, fast-paced industry.

How agile is your retail business?

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