by Brent Brown
Leveraging Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology and analytics is critical for retailers to meet unified commerce shopper expectations. RFID technology gives retailers a fast and accurate way to count inventory and automatically record the location of items as they move from one facility or position to another. Having actionable shopper, inventory and shrink data allows retailers to better understand and anticipate shopper behavior; inventory and availability; and associate productivity and prioritization.
360 Degrees of Operational Insight
RFID is an ideal technology to integrate into retailers’ existing solutions, like Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS), traffic sensors and video surveillance. Each solution is individually valuable, but together they deliver a new level of actionable intelligence and a more connected, comprehensive store performance program. This is especially relevant for garnering stronger storefront shrink visibility and meeting the growing need for enhanced item-level visibility with real-time and accurate on-hand availability by store location.
Meeting Customers’ Demands
Better inventory management can empower sales associates to provide the level of service that turns browsers into buyers. Recent data from EKN indicates that retailers spend 70 percent of labor hours on inventory and related operational functions and only 30 percent on customer service. Millions can be added to a retailer’s annual revenue if more time can be saved or re-directed toward customer service. Inventory visibility is especially useful for sales associates in areas like the fitting room, which traditionally have been areas of missed sales opportunities or even worse, missing products.
Better Inventory Insight and Transaction Efficiency
By leveraging connected technology, retailers can rectify their cycle count compliance accurately rather than assuming something is out-of-stock or has been stolen. RFID technology also expedites counts and is up to 50 times faster than manual counts. Item-level RFID can even speed up the receiving process and increase accuracy by reducing administrative error or losses due to shipping discrepancies, so that merchandise can reach the store floor faster, freeing staff to spend more time on customer service, rather than back-room operations.
Connected Solutions Build Customer-Connected Retailers
RFID solutions and actionable data empower retailers to leverage inventory accuracy for complete insight into their complex business operations – from distribution centers and backrooms to on-the-shelf, fitting rooms or checkout lines. Today’s retailer has the ability to combine the RFID inventory availability insights with traffic sensor data to not only find out how many black blazers in size medium are in-stock, but also how many customers are shopping at stores that carry them.. These solutions help create a strong network of empowered sales associates and happy customers.
In this highly competitive and ever-evolving market, RFID and analytics continue to play an important role for retailers. To satisfy customers in this connected, always-on, always-open world of unified commerce, retailers need visibility into inventory availability throughout the store and across the supply chain. Unified commerce is table stakes, so it’s imperative that retailers know the precise location of their inventory and how to use data to solve unique business challenges related to shopper traffic, inventory management, and customer service year-round.
Posted on November 29th, 2017