by Ned McCauley
It was a busy week in New Orleans, LA at the Retail Asset Protection Conference 2017. We are excited to share some updates from the show.
At the start of the show — and in partnership with Platt Retail Institute, Kurt Salmon and IHL Group — we announced new research that validates the use of RFID to increase inventory accuracy and visibility as the foundation for unified commerce. The cumulative research put a spotlight on common inventory challenges and confirms the critical importance of RFID as a solution, quantifying the benefits of the technology. You can read the full press release here.
During the event, we participated in two panel sessions. On the heels of our announcement, the first panel, “Sell More and Lose Less: Quantifiable Benefits of RFID,” presented research from Platt Retail Institute and Macy’s that demonstrated the value of RFID for inventory accuracy and availability. Macy’s is largely considered a pioneer when it comes to successful application since their award-winning item-level RFID program was first implemented in 2008. During the panel, we highlighted two key use cases from Macy’s program:
- Inventory Accuracy: Results indicated that Macy’s was experiencing inventory variance at a rate of 4 to 5 percent per month before implementing RFID and monthly cycle counts. With regular RFID cycle counts, Macys is able to maintain a variance rate of less than 3% per month and through-out the year. This translates to more sales, less mark-downs and a better customer experience.
- Single Unit Fulfillment: RFID enhances unified commerce by making all inventory visible system wide. The common issue that retailers face is they only expose inventory for on-line sales when they trust they can find it at the store-level. If the store only carries one or two units of that particular SKU the risk becomes too great to accept an order and then disappoint a customer.
RFID changes this dynamic by improving inventory accuracy to the point that even units of one can be exposed for sale through all channels. This results in more sales and less mark-downs.
The second panel, “Business Intelligence and Analytics Open Forum” facilitated a discussion focusing on the latest trends in business intelligence and data analytics. We discussed a benchmark of retailers’ current data capabilities against those of other leading companies, and insight into how data can enhance existing programs. During the session, we found that more than half of respondents were “very confident” in the accuracy of their data. In addition, we found that the most common pain point regarding data analysis is having to pull data from multiple sources.
More to Come
RFID is no longer in the conceptual stage. In using RFID, inventory read rates can be improved from an average 63 percent up to 99 percent, according to RFID lab studies and in-store experience. For more on how to build a business case for RFID technology, reference the Platt Retail Institute Research Paper. Stay tuned for more details on use cases for unified commerce in upcoming blogs.
Posted on April 28th, 2017