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River Island to Deploy RFID Across All 280 Stores

The installation—using handheld readers, software and an app provided by Nedap—focuses only on inventory counts throughout each store, in order to trigger replenishment orders.
By Claire Swedberg

The enterprise-wide rollout will be the largest such project that Nedap has undertaken with full responsibility for the project, according to Danny Haak, Nedap Retail's !D Cloud product manager. He expects this kind of large-scale rollout to become more commonplace, he adds, once it has proven to be successful by retailers like River Island. "Making a solution that counts items in the store is one thing," Haak states, "but making sure it is able to do this in hundreds of stores without being disruptive to in-store processes and existing IT infrastructure is another matter."

The !D Cloud system not only enables store personnel onsite to view inventory data on the handheld reader, but also lets a retailer's managers view the information from a central location.

River Island's Jon Wright
The app allows for multiple workers to simultaneously count inventory on a single site, Haak says, "which is especially useful for the large stores." In the event that several of a store's employees are conducting inventory counts at the same time, he notes, the app will update the count in real time for all personnel using the readers.

Eventually, Wright says, he hopes workers at River Island's DC will use the technology to track when goods arrive at the facility and are then shipped out, as well as to conduct inventory counts onsite. The solution will enable River Island to also begin fulfilling omnichannel sales of its products to customers who place orders online, by identifying which products are geographically closest to a particular online shopper, and by shipping from that location.

Wright expects the technology eventually to be used for monitoring when goods leave a store's back room, and when they are put out on the sales floor. But first, he says, his team wants to see a return on investment for the initial RFID deployment, based on increased sales due to inventory accuracy. He declines to reveal the amount by which sales increased during the pilots with the technology in place, but reports that the lift exceeded the company's expectations.

Since River Island first began piloting the technology, Wright says, the system has proven to provide the benefits the retailer was looking to achieve. "It's not very often you find a loss-prevention team owning a technology that has nothing to do with loss prevention," he notes. Nonetheless, he reports, he and his team have been pleased with the results.

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