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RFID Enables Automatic Replenishment for Dutch Retailer
Wild Store is leveraging RFID technology from RFKeeper at its distribution center and at two stores to gain visibility into where goods are located, thereby automating the ordering of new inventory and offering goods for sale from its Web shop.
Wild Store receives 90 percent of its products from suppliers. So far, suppliers are not tagging the products they make and ship to Wild Store, though the retailer would like to see that change. The stores also utilize the handheld readers to locate missing items. For instance, if a shopper seeks a specific size, color or product style, a sales associate can enter that data into the handheld device and use it in Geiger counter mode to locate the requested item.
The handheld readers employ Wi-Fi connectivity in the stores to access and update data in the cloud in real time. Almost every time a handheld is used to locate a missing item, de Wildt says, that product is found within only one minute. This feature has reduced the risk of lost sales, he adds, because an item might otherwise not have been readily available while the customer was in the store.
Since the system was taken live in May, de Wildt says, "We now have a better stock with auto-replenishment because we know we have the right sizes and the right colors." Additionally, he notes, online shoppers are more likely to have the correct product data about where an item is available for sale. "That way, we don't have to disappoint them. Those are important benefits to us."
With the RFID solution, de Wildt says, the POS process has been going faster, since the tags can all be read at once as goods are placed on the counter, and they don't have to be individually scanned. The biggest challenge involved the connection between software systems, de Wildt recalls. The retailer set up an FTP server for sharing data, then worked to ensure the information was collected in the appropriate categories so it could be easily shared with the store's existing software.
Going forward, de Wildt reports, the company is looking for new use cases for RFID. "I think other things could be done in the long term," he says, such as self-checkout or the use of RFID with smart mirrors.
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