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GIKS Mode to Open Seventh RFID-enabled Store

The Belgian retailer has already been using RFID to track nearly all of its merchandise at six stores and a DC.
By Claire Swedberg

When a customer wishes to purchase an item, Shrem explains, a sales associate utilizes an RFKeeper POS RFID Detacher to remove the T1009 tag from the garment. At that time, the device reads the unique ID number encoded to the T1009's RFID transponder, and the ERP software is updated to indicate that the item has been purchased. This data can then prompt the ERP software to create an order for replenishment.

The system, which was installed at the DC and six stores during the course of a single week, was taken live in July. Since that time, Allemeersch says, it has reduced errors and made inventory management easier and more accurate. Prior to deploying the RFKeeper system, the company conducted a full inventory check at all stores and the distribution center only once annually, typically at a cost of €12,000 ($13,500) and multiple days of manual counting. That cost should be virtually eliminated, he says, since each store's managers will be able to accomplish the same thing on a weekly basis in about 1.5 hours.

RFKeeper's Zack Shrem
The Merlin readers, Shrem reports, can count 30,000 items within about 45 minutes.

The stores have overcome some initial RFID reading challenges by rearranging the way in which goods are packed and shipped, in order to ensure that the transponders can be read reliably. For instance, the fashion trend in Belgium this year is toward clothes made with Lurex, a metallic yarn that can interfere with RFID tag reads. For that reason, some items are shipped on hangers on racks, which makes the RFID-reading process more reliable. Shrem says the stores now have 99 percent of their goods tagged.

The system has decreased customer checkout time by up to 50 percent, the company reports, since bar-code scanning is not required, resulting in shorter lines. Another benefit of the system has been a better understanding of what has been stolen, so that any pilfered items can be reordered. In some cases, thieves will take a garment to a dressing room and remove its T1009 hard tag. If staff members later find that tag in the dressing room, they can read its RFID transponder and determine what has been removed.

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