In today’s retail world we are emerging into a new era where technology and commerce are joining together and revolutionising Customer Experience.
Retailers are increasingly continuing to implement new technologies which help to improve processes. Alongside this they are also finding innovative and new applications of existing technologies which help to optimise daily operations. This can be due to the rise of online and mobile shopping, which has further led to increasing competition within the retail sector. With over 2,400 stores disappearing on the high street in 2018 alone, meaning a 40 percent rise in store closures from 2017, it is clear that this could be causing major panic amongst various retailers.
With item-level RFID technology rapidly gaining adoption in the retail industry, retailers have seen their inventory management improve significantly. Nowadays, retailers are looking at additional ways to leverage investments they put into RFID, especially once the initial investment and returns have been established. As a result of this, retailers are mostly focusing on the changing process of customer engagement at Point of Sale (POS) moving to an automated and human-free checkout.
Reduced shrink and reduced out of stocks
Item-level RFID technology can enable retailers to carry out stock counts within their stores once a week in an average duration of one hour, using only a few handhelds. Through this, retailers can gain 98 percent inventory accuracy. Having an enhanced view of inventory accuracy will naturally lead to a reduction in shrink, which is often a result of theft or lost items throughout the supply chain. An average amount of shrink percentage in retail is around two percent of sales. This can create significant cost implications for retailers. According to the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) annual Retail Crime Survey, the total direct financial cost of retail crime, resulting in shrinkage has risen to around £700m.
Retailers can utilise item-level RFID to prevent shrink throughout all aspects of the supply chain, it can also identify whether an item went missing either from transit or from the distribution centre. Item-level RFID can greatly reduce out stocks for retailers, which in turn can also help to improve customer satisfaction and services. This is a result of the retailer having products available for customers, as and when they want them.
Enhancing the check-out process for customers
Many retailers are adopting item-level RFID for a variety of reasons, including technology giving retailers the ability to speed up the check-out process for customers. This can be seen as part of a ‘technology rebrand’ effort for retailers whilst also acting as a loss prevention tool by helping to reduce human factor-based errors at the checkout.
Overall, this can help to improve the accuracy of a purchase, reduce lengthy checkout queues and streamline the technology experience during the POS process.
Benefits of accurate inventory management for Customer Experience
RFID is helping retailers reach a new level of operational excellence in inventory management. There have been many rollouts of the technology on a global basis, which have demonstrated rapid ROI based on sales lift, inventory reduction and omnichannel fulfilment advantages. It is without a doubt that item-level RFID has become the fundamental tool in opening the door to this new era of retailing.
Evidently, if a customer is looking to purchase an item they want and it is out of stock, they are going to be disappointed. For retailers, this can result in the customer feeling unsatisfied with the service, and therefore choosing not to return to the store in the future. To prevent this and to ensure good levels of customer service, retailers need to have a correct and accurate view of their inventory, meaning they know exactly which products need ordering for new stock and those that don’t.
Overall, it is clear that with item-level RFID allows retailers to gain levels of 98 percent accuracy, with quicker stock counts, customers are evidently going to be more satisfied with their overall experience of shorter queuing times, getting the stock they want, and when they want it. As a result, this creates a greater shopping experience for customers overall.