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Dillard's Announces Item-Level RFID Pilot

US retailer Dillard's this week announced the initiation of an item-level RFID pilot program at a number of its stores, which will see individual garments tagged. The tags will only contain each item's EPC and are designed to be removed at checkout. The company's goal is fewer out-of-stocks by enabling more frequent inventory counts.
Oct 05, 2007This article was originally published by RFID Update.

October 5, 2007—US retailer Dillard's this week announced the initiation of an item-level RFID pilot program at a number of its stores. The announcement is light on details, and Julie Bull, Dillard's director of investor relations with whom RFID Update spoke, indicated that the program was only in the "infancy stage".

Publicly-traded Dillard's is a large regional apparel retailer, operating 330 stores across 29 states. The company had $7.7 billion in revenues last year.

The RFID pilot will see individual garments tagged. According to a page on the company's website explaining RFID and the company's use of it, the tags will only contain each item's Electronic Product Code (EPC). No information on the tag will be associated with the customer, and the tags are designed to be removed at checkout. Customers won't need the tags in the event that they wish to return a purchased item. Dillard's indicates that its goal with the pilot is fewer out-of-stocks by enabling more frequent inventory counts.

"The pilot is very narrowly focused at first," Dillard's Bull told RFID Update. "It will be in a few select locations, in a few select departments." She was unable to comment on exactly how many locations or which departments.

Interesting to note is how proactive the company is being to address potential privacy concerns. The announcement itself goes out of its way to highlight the fact that tags are designed to be removed, and that there will be no link between tag and consumer data. More impressive is the RFID page on the company's site, offering a go-to source of information for the wary, privacy-conscious, or otherwise curious consumer. Other retailers would do well to take note; making such information easily accessible to the public via the web should be considered a best practice for consumer-facing deployments.
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