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G-Star RAW Store Finds Many Uses for RFID

The technology tracks the locations of goods in real time, and is used for inventory, point-of-sale and electronic article surveillance applications, as well as for a customer-facing touchscreen.
By Claire Swedberg

Impinj helped RIoT determine how the readers and software could be used in the store, according to Larry Arnstein, Impinj's business development VP. The number of readers installed at Denimwall might be somewhat more than needed for a typical store space of its size, Arnstein says. "We were being conservative," he explains, by ensuring full coverage with a large number of readers. The 100-plus-year-old building posed multiple challenges for RF transmission, Williams adds, such as nooks and crannies that would require RF coverage.

The ItemSense software enables the system to break the areas into zones in which tags are being read, Arnstein says. About 2 percent or less may not be readable, and the software displays the list of items that cannot be accounted for as well. At the end of the day, Leonard says, employees spend approximately 10 minutes locating missing items by walking around the store with a handheld reader. The store is using several models of handhelds—an ASReader device that attaches to an Apple iPhone or iPod touch, Nordic ID's Merlin and a Bluetooth reader from Technology Solutions UK Ltd. (TSL)—and by "fluffing" inventory (physically shuffling, lifting or moving the garments).

Shoppers can use a 55-inch touchscreen with a built-in Impinj RFID reader to capture an item's tag ID number, causing InMotion's Ui7 software platform to display related product information, such as complementary shoes, shirts and belts.
Enso Detego, which specializes in software solutions for the fashion apparel market, provided the software that analyzes the location data and presents it to the store on dashboards, or via RIoT's app. "With this, they [store employees] have visibility at the item level in real time," says Uwe Hennig, Detego's CEO, and can use data to prompt other actions, such as replenishing inventory.

RIot's Darren Williams
When goods are received, Leonard says, workers apply an RFID tag to each item and use a Keonn AdvanStation RFID encoding station to scan that product's bar code and encode its tag. After that, the overhead readers automatically track the tagged items.

"One of the important aspects of this solution is simple in-store encoding, until G-STAR begins tagging upstream," Williams says. It is not necessary to completely outsource tagging, he notes.

Under the sales counter, RIoT installed a Nordic ID Sampo reader for interrogating the tags of goods being purchased. A customer places the products on the counter, and the reader captures the tag IDs. The employee then presses a prompt on the touchscreen, thereby linking those tag IDs to the purchase, and updating the inventory- and replenishment-based data.

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