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How Retailers Can Avoid Striking Out During the World Series

The right technologies can enable retailers to cope with rising customer demand, provide the correct products and enhance the customer experience.
By Dean Frew
Tags: Retail
Aug 31, 2018

Without question, a busy retail period is hugely profitable for businesses. In particular, national and international events can present retailers with a number of significant business opportunities, such as increased customer engagement, thereby creating jobs for store associates and opportunities to drive sales at an exponential rate.

Major sporting events, in particular, offer retailers vast opportunities to take advantage of an increased customer demand. For example, the upcoming World Series will see retailers experience an influx of customers looking to purchase replica shirts, electronics, food and alcohol. Yet, while these events encourage customers to spend more, it can also present a burden for retailers who aren't prepared for the sudden increase in customer interest.

Batting a Foul Ball With Inventory Management
One of the most prominent reasons retailers may struggle with a sharp rise in consumer demand is the fact that they struggle to have an accurate view of their inventory. Not only does this lead to missed sales opportunities due to out-of-stock products and a poor customer experience, but it can have long-term implications toward brand loyalty. Afterall, in an age when customer experience is key, why would they choose to shop with you if you don't have the correct stock?

Customers are most disappointed when the products they want are not available. This is often due to retail staff conducting manual stock takes and recording incorrect numbers. What's more, many retailers remain unaware that they have such a poor view of their inventory. For example, many retailers believe that they have a clear view of their stock. Yet, the truth is that their stock accuracy can be as low as 68 percent, with items being easily misplaced or lost through the supply chain. While this can just about be adequate for general day-to-day operations, it simply isn't good enough when there is a sudden increase in customer demand as a result of a major event, such as the World Series, driving sales.

Scoring a Home Run With RFID Technology
It's apparent that retailers can struggle to have clear visibility into their inventory and can experience challenges around customer demand in the run up to, during and following major events. However, having a clear and accurate view of inventory is key to utilizing busy retail periods to drive sales.

More and more retailers are turning to the latest retail technologies that have established themselves as game-changers within the sector. Retailers are able to utilize technologies such as RFID to effectively manage their inventory, and can achieve an accuracy level of up to 98 percent.

RFID can run in conjunction with major events, and can enable retailers to use the technology to enhance their daily cycle count as well as keep up with increased demands from customers who want products faster. In addition, retailers can carry out daily stock counts reading approximately 400 tags per second, per handheld to enable them to gain a near-real-time high accurate inventory availability and, therefore, rapidly replenish stock accordingly. National and International events present retailers with many opportunities to maximize sales and generate profits. However, if badly prepared, these opportunities soon become burdens and an increased customer demand can leave retailers scrambling to keep up with rising consumer interest.

Yet, with the range of solutions available and the cost of game-changing retail technology decreasing, out-of-stocks and bloated inventories should be a thing of the past. Utilizing the right technologies will enable retailers to cope with rising customer demand, provide the correct products required and deliver an enhanced customer experience.

Dean Frew is the senior VP for RFID solutions and chief technology officer of SML Group, and the founder of SML Intelligent Inventory Solutions (formerly Xterprise, purchased by SML in 2013). Dean is responsible for driving SML's RFID strategy, based on his 20-plus years of experience delivering RFID solutions to retailers and brand owners.

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