LP Magazine

MAR-APR 2018

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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RFID AND RETAILING 41 LP MAGAZINE | MARCH–APRIL 2018 advantage of developments in the technology. It is within this context that GS1 and the ECR Community Shrinkage and On-shelf Availability Group commissioned a piece of research to better understand about how this technology is now being used and what lessons can be drawn from its development, its implementation, and its impact on retail businesses. Based upon the detailed experiences of ten companies that have invested in RFID, the study set out to answer the following questions: ■ What is the business context within which some retailers decide to invest in RFID? ■ How do these companies begin their RFID journey? ■ What steps do they follow when undertaking a trial? ■ In what ways do they measure the impact of RFID, and what have they found? ■ How do they begin to roll it out to the rest of the business? ■ How have they dealt with the key challenge of integration? ■ What role, if any, can RFID play in managing loss prevention? ■ What lessons have these companies learned on their RFID journeys? ■ How might they be planning to use this technology in the future? This research adopted a case-study methodology with data being collected via requests for various types of quantitative data relating to the use and performance of RFID, together with primarily face-to-face interviews with company representatives from the following companies: Adidas, C&A, Decathlon, lululemon, Jack Wills, John Lewis, MARC O'POLO, Marks & Spencer, River Island, and Tesco. Collectively, these companies have total sales in the region of €94 billion a year and purchase at least 1.87 billion RFID tags a year, equivalent to the use of about sixty tags per second. As with any research, there are limitations in what can be achieved and presented. While this research attempted to offer an independent and critical review of the use of RFID in the retail sector, the case-study selection process needs to be taken into account when reviewing the findings. Because of the chosen selection criteria and the challenge of obtaining retailer support, no companies are represented that have trialled RFID and decided against rolling it out—the views of these types of companies are absent from this research. In addition, there are some companies that have adopted a different approach to using RFID than those represented in this research, namely using a hard tag variant applied either at the point of manufacture or later in the supply chain. While one of these companies was approached to take part in the research, they declined, so it is not possible to include their experiences and views of using RFID. As such, it is important to recognize that the general approach adopted by these ten companies is not necessarily representative of all retail companies that are now using RFID. Summary Findings Presented below are the headline results from the research. For a more detailed review of the findings, a free report is available (details of how to receive this can be found at the end of the article). The Business Context for Investment Driving Sales. The primary goal of investing in RFID was to deliver improvements in inventory visibility and accuracy, which in turn would grow sales. Optimizing Stock Holding. Respondents also recognized the potential of RFID to enable them to optimize their stock holdings, reducing capital outlay and improving staff productivity. Fewer Markdowns. Most case-study companies regarded RFID as a key tool in helping to reduce the amount of stock they offered at discounted prices. Helping to Drive Innovation and Business Efficiencies. RFID was RFID was viewed as a key driver in developing the capacity to deliver a profitable omni-channel consumer experience —in effect the organizational "glue" that will hold together much of the architecture of twenty-first century retailing. 2% 13% STOCK HOLDING REDUCED (01)95012345678903(21)00123 Size 16

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