Tag Archives: traceability

Are Thieves Cashing in on Your Retail Plastic?

“Recyclers motivated by green—as in money—have been stealing plastic pallets, trays and crates from retailers and selling them to plastic recyclers,” reports NRF® Stores® magazine.

Perhaps now’s a good time for retailers to think about implementing radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for container management. RFID smart labels applied to moveable assets such as returnable pallets, racks, trays and bins can help you keep track of their location, reducing loss and lowering operating expenses.

Read the full Stores article.

Learn more about RFID capabilities here, where you can find resources like this asset tracking white paper and this brand-new RFID solutions brochure.


Walmart Announces Item-Level RFID. Will You Be Next?

Walmart has officially launched an item-level RFID initiative requiring some suppliers to tag such apparel items as jeans and socks. You may have seen the report in the July 23 Wall Street Journal.

In RFID Journal’s report the same day, Myron Burke, Walmart’s director of store innovation, explained, “We are focused on items that require a more complex purchasing decision by the customer. With denim, the customer has to make a decision based on brand, style, size and cut, in addition to price, of course. There are other areas of the store where we sell items with similar attributes. Tires are one. Some electronics items, such as TVs, are another.”

RFID Journal also points to an Aberdeen Group survey that shows 57 percent of retailers use or plan to use RFID item-level tagging.

How about you? Do you see enough ROI from item-level tagging that you expect your stores to implement it anytime soon? If so, what sorts of items would you tag?

Read more about the ROI benefits of retail item-level tagging in our earlier blog article, and in the white paper “Traceability in Retail—Reducing RFID Media Costs for Best Value.”

Check Out RFID Journal’s Webinar for Apparel Retailers

Well, Shelf Talker just got done talking about How the Apparel Industry is Realizing the Benefits of RFID item-level tracking, when RFID Journal announced a webinar you may find of interest. The webinar is today, June 23, at 2 p.m. EDT—but will also be viewable on-demand. To register for “RFID Made Easy for Apparel Retailers: Cost-Effective Ways to Deploy RFID in Soft Goods Stores,” click here. Find RFIDJournal.com’s archived webinars at the bottom of this page.

To learn more about RFID and RFID printing/encoding, click here.

What’s “in Store” for RFID?

Pilots Proving Item-Level Benefits

We recently examined the ROI benefits of item-level RFID tagging for retailers, including improved inventory accuracy and on-shelf availability. We discovered some recent examples of retailers marching ahead to bring these benefits to their own stores.

Turns out French sportswear retailer Serge Blanco is currently conducting a one-store pilot to test store-level inventory tracking using item-level RFID. The retailer already tags every garment at the point of manufacture to increase efficiency in its distribution center. If the store-level pilot demonstrates increased inventory visibility, decreased out-of-stocks, reduced manual labor, and improved sales as expected, the retailer plans to expand the system to all its stores. See the complete RFID Journal article here.

And perhaps you’ve heard about the study conducted by Bloomingdale’s and the University of Arkansas last year. The pilot proved-out similar points: Not only did the Bloomingdale’s trial store improve inventory accuracy of by 27 percent using item-level RFID, but it saw inventory count speed improve by 96 percent. Read Evan Schuman’s complete story on StorefrontBacktalk.com.

Do you see opportunities for enhancing inventory visibility or reducing labor in your stores by using item-level RFID?

QR Codes Coming to a Shelf Label Near You?

Jeff Weidauer of Vestcom International proposed an interesting idea in his online RIS News article: using QR codes on shelf labels.

A QR code—a type of bar code that anyone can scan using a smart phone and a free app—directs the phone to a Web site or other Web content. While manufacturers will likely be adding QR codes to product packaging as the technology catches on, Jeff suggests forward-thinking retailers seize upon the possibilities now, and apply QR codes to the shelf edge as part of their mobile strategy. Just think how shelf-edge QR codes could instantly provide shoppers with coupons or relevant information such as country of origin, recipes, and the like.

 Actually executing the idea could be relatively easy. Using a QR-capable mobile bar code printer like Zebra’s QL 320 Plus™ model—the mobile printer your store may already use to save time and labor through on-demand, in-aisle, accurate shelf labeling—would be a natural fit for your QR code labeling as well. And it would make it easy to swap out shelf labels with new information based on real-time data available through your wireless network. This white paper can tell you more about the potential ROI available through mobile wireless labeling.

Mobile Shelf Labeling

Read Jeff’s complete article here on RISNews.com. And for a fun look at another interesting (albeit unrelated) application for QR codes, check out this recent Shelf Talker post.

Would you consider adding QR codes to your shelf labels? What other applications for QR codes do you see in retail?

RFID Delivers Real Results for Retailers

All of us have experienced frustration when we cannot find an item we are looking for at our favorite store. Not only does the store lose the sale, we the consumer lose faith in the store. This stock-out scenario plays out daily, costing retailers millions in lost revenue and missed opportunities for building customer loyalty. This is why best-in-class apparel, footwear, and accessories retailers are turning to item-level RFID tagging to:

  • Streamline promotional tracking
  • Improve inventory accuracy
  • Ensure on-shelf availability
  • Prevent theft
  • Lift sales

Until recently, most RFID uses focused on pallet and case-level tracking. Instead, item-level tagging reaches all the way to the consumer. Today, major retailers are rolling out item-level RFID systems across the nation at an accelerating rate. In fact, retailers implementing tracing technologies know that they can boost inventory accuracy from 65-98 percent, which leads to more sales. Some retailers are realizing 99.9 percent inventory accuracy, a 50 percent reduction of in-store labor requirements, and a 15 percent lift in sales.

Here’s how it works. As the retailer receives products, an RFID reader automatically scans each item in the packing material, updates the retailer’s computer system, which then verifies product type and quantity. Employees stock the items in the appropriate locations. Scanners in the store track the item’s purchase, or if the item leaves the store without the shopper paying for it. Real-time tracking reveals if shoppers or employees misplace items in the store. This enhanced visibility allows the retailer to reduce stock-outs, boost the shopping experience, and increase sales. In addition, RFID-based electronic article surveillance (EAS) tagging can provide the retailer loss-prevention intelligence regarding what item left the store, and when the theft took place.

Not only does item-level RFID enable precise inventory management, store execution is better, and customers can shop and find the product they want faster and easier. Plus, implementing traceability technologies can also improve overall supply chain efficiency by delivering better inventory control, faster processing, and faster turn rate on items that have seasonal- or style-dependent windows. Most important, RFID solutions scale easily as the retailer’s needs evolve. No doubt, precise inventory management offers a great way for a retailer to differentiate and authenticate their brand.

For more details about RFID in retail, take a look at this recent announcement in http://www.rfidjournalevents.com/fashion/.

Do you see opportunities in your retail enterprise to improve inventory accuracy through precise traceability?