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Intersport Expects RFID to Boost Its Sales, Decrease Its Costs

After carrying out a one-store pilot of a combined EAS and RFID system from Cross Point and RFKeeper, the international athletic-goods retailer is installing the technology at other sites.
By Claire Swedberg

Intersport JB examined the entire solution workflow between November and December, according to Amir Ben-Assa, RFKeeper's VP of marketing and business development. During that time, he says, the store attached the RFID-enabled EAS hard tags to goods within its back room, while RFKeeper software collected read data every time the tags were interrogated by RFID readers at various points throughout the site. It uploaded all that information to the store's existing inventory-management or POS software. Intersport also installed an RFID reader and an EAS tag detacher at the point of sale, in order to provide faster customer checkout. "The readers are designed and manufactured by RFKeeper to fully answer the requirements of fashion retail chains," Ben-Assa says.

During the two-month pilot, the store found that a single employee using RFKeeper's Stocktaking handheld required less than 30 minutes to perform an inventory count with an accuracy of more than 99 percent. It also found that sales increased, since goods were more reliably displayed on the sales floor. Inventory counts are mostly accomplished on the sales floor, where the bulk of the 10,000 items onsite are located.

Cross Point EAS gates, installed at the Intersport Jan Bols store's entrance, work in conjunction with the RFKeeper T1006 Dual AM RFID hard tags that the retailer attaches to its merchandise.
Goods—such as apparel, footwear and backpacks—arrive at Intersport JB stores from multiple suppliers, so the retailer has opted to have its own staff attach the RFKeeper RFID-EAS tags in the back room, as those items are received. Workers attach a tag to each product, read that tag using a desktop RFKeeper Commissioning Reader, and link the item to stock-keeping unit (SKU) data indicating, for example, the product's type, size and color. That data is then forwarded to the retailer's inventory-management software.

Merchandise can then be placed on display in the storefront as needed. Weekly, a single employee carries an RFKeeper Stocktaking handheld reader through the store to interrogate the tags of all items. The collected ID numbers are linked to SKU data in the Plug & Play RFID Solution software, and are forwarded to Intersport JB's own software to update inventory data. Intersport JB can then determine which goods need to be replenished.

Upon purchasing an item from the store, a customer places the item on the sales counter, where a built-in RFKeeper RFID POS Detacher Reader capture's the tag ID number and forwards data about the product being purchased to the Intersport software, which can then update the inventory count. The POS reader comes with an RFKeeper tag-detacher that the sales associate uses to remove the tag so that the product can pass through the EAS gate without triggering an alarm.

An employee at Intersport JB, equipped with an RFKeeper Stocktaking handheld, conducts an inventory check every Monday, after which the retailer places replenishment orders based on that inventory update. Other Intersport stores deploying the technology will employ a similar procedure. "The key issue is that we started using it immediately," Bols says, "and we did not have to change our working procedures too much." Workers found the readers fairly simple to use, he reports. "In addition, the customer checkout process at the point of sale was improved. We have only one till and it is getting busy, especially during the weekends." With the RFID system, he explains, the checkout process is quicker and more accurate, since the tags of all the items placed on the RFID-enabled counter are read instantly, and the POS system can then immediately provide the customer with transaction details, including the total cost. Scanning each item with a bar-code scanner is less efficient, he notes.

USER COMMENTS

Victor van Essen 2014-02-10 07:37:25 AM
Please visit us at EuroShop, where we will be giving live demonstrations of our RFID solution. If you like to get additional information, you are also welcome to send me an email victor.van.essen@crosspoint.nl We look forward to hearing from you.

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