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Keeping tabs on stock can boost sales and keep customers happy

Date: July 14, 2017

Category: Industry news

RFID technology is not new, but it’s starting to be adopted by major apparel retailers to make sure stock that customers want is always available – in stores and online

A recent supplement published in the Sunday Times by Raconteur on the future of retail looked at how River Island are now attaching RFID tags to every item of clothing they have in stock. This is to identify all items of clothing on the store’s shelves and racks.

The retailer claims that the technology is transforming their business. While the original goal was to fix some stock accuracy issues, they are now seeing sales increase significantly – so much so that they’re now rolling out RFID across 250 of their stores and warehouses.

River Island are not alone in adopting the technology either; other major chains such as Marks & Spencer and John Lewis have been testing the technology and they’re now introducing them to their stores. And Asda, Tesco and many more are starting to follow.

For over a decade, RFID technology has been available to retailers, but it’s never been seen as a necessity. Now that retailers have customers across multiple shopping channels, they have a bigger need than ever to ensure stock is available to customers both in-store and online.

The consumer’s mindset has changed so much that they do not accept the product is not available when they want it. There is so much competition that they can get a pair of jeans anywhere. Consumers are pushing the retailers to know what products they have and where they have it at any given moment.”

Jon Wright, Head of Loss Prevention, River Island

One of the key milestones which helped to unleash RFID was the creation of a single global standard for tags. Before 2005, there was no such standard. But the Electronic Product Code (EPC) was launched in 2005 and refined in 2008 as EPC Generation 2. Jacky Broomhead, market development manager for apparel at GS1 UK says, “we got the industry to unite globally under a radio frequency for the tags to operate. The benefit is the tags will work anywhere in the world.”

Read the full story on the Raconteur website


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