To fully implement their omnichannel strategy, retailers need to have an accurate overview over their inventory at any time. By now, fixed RFID readers are an available technology that is designed to enable inventory accuracy of nearly 100 percent. In this interview, Uwe Hennig, CEO of Detego, explains the advantages of these models.
Mr. Hennig, why is inventory accuracy so important, especially for omnichannel retailers?
Customers expect real-time information anytime, anywhere. How good is an online store if I am not able to reserve the article I want at a specific store or check its availability? How good is click and collect where franchisors are not integrated? Today, the winners are those who are able to continuously check availability across all channels in real-time and keep their customer promises.
How exactly does the use of a fixed reader infrastructure make it easier to achieve high inventory accuracy?
The use of RFID by fashion retailers is starting to be widely accepted because I am able to take inventory in my sales area very quickly and reliably. I no longer have to deal with elaborate barcode scanning of individual items. Users of our solution take a weekly inventory count at their store using RFID and reconcile their systems. This provides significantly higher accuracy than before. In the age of omnichannel retailing, inventory accuracy is the basis for customer service and efficiency. The use of so-called “fixed readers“ or ceiling-mounted readers enables fully automated inventory control – that being without any manual intervention – several times a day. As often as my process requires it, the system in the ceiling scans the entire inventory in a fully automated fashion.
What other analytics options do retailers have with this technology?
The technology makes entirely new applications possible. The store can be zoned and I can track which items are moving, for instance, which items are taken together into a fitting room, which ones are then also ending up at the point of sale, which products don’t move at all etc. This data is fundamental for product mix optimization based on consumer demand and the subsequent merchandise presentation on the sales floor and is, therefore, crucial for merchandise planning and marketing by fashion retailers. By using fixed reader infrastructure and new analytic methods, fashion retailers achieve never before seen real-time transparency, are able to take advantage of cross-selling and manage their business directly and in real-time.
G-Star in New York already utilizes a matching solution by Detego. How has your experience been with these projects so far?
Our solution has been in place for 9 months there. Store associates have been relieved from the manual task of inventory taking and now attend to customers most of the day. At the same time, employees are always able to state whether a specific item is available and if not, it can be immediately reserved for the customer. Both of these aspects are directly reflected in higher sales. Thanks to our solution, the store gains an important reference number, namely the conversion rate for “fitting rooms“. It states which items are taken into the fitting rooms and are subsequently being purchased and therefore delivers valuable insights into preferences for merchandise planning. A reference number that was previously not available for stores.
Author: Daniel Stöter; EuroCIS First published at iXtenso.com