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Retail Reload, Mainetti Partner on Omnichannel and Big-Data Solutions

The two companies are offering retailers a solution that tracks data about goods in stores beyond inventory management, either with QR codes or using handheld or fixed RFID readers.
By Claire Swedberg
Sep 18, 2019

France- and U.S.-based RFID solutions provider Retail Reload has partnered with label technology company Mainetti to offer retailers an omnichannel solution that it says is intended to take radio frequency identification beyond inventory management. The company serves a worldwide audience and has had an office in Los Angeles to serve the North American market for approximately 18 months.

The solution, using Retail Reload's cloud-based software and Mainetti's customized price labels with RFID and QR codes, provides marketing and sourcing data based on RFID tag reads in stores, while also tracking inventory levels. Several brands are already using Retail Reload's technology to enable full omnichannel mode sales, the company reports. Several retail companies are presently in discussions with Retail Reload about deploying the technology with Mainetti labels, to better understand how their customers (shoppers) are interacting with their products in stores, says Yves Curtat, Retail Reload's CEO and founder.

Yves Curtat
Retailers currently face what Curtat calls "a black hole in the store," meaning management has no clear idea about where products are located, if they are being tried on or whether customers actually like them. That makes omnichannel sales challenging, he says, since retailers may not know if a product at a store is actually available for online sales or if it is being tried on, for instance. This is especially difficult when inventory levels are kept at very low levels, he says, such as two or fewer of each stock-keeping unit (SKU). They also have no information indicating whether customers are engaging with those products, or whether they tend to buy them after trying them on.

Paul Withers
Retail Reload was launched approximately three years ago to provide a solution to that problem, as well as to help retailers understand such issues as sourcing in order to identify which suppliers are delivering goods that customers are actually buying. The company enlisted Mainetti to provide a high-quality and aesthetically pleasing tag—one manufactured around the world—as part of its solution, explains Paul Withers, Mainetti Group's global head of packaging,

One barrier to widescale RFID deployments in retail, Curtat says, is a shortage of software solutions for omnichannel sales. Traditional software solutions focus on stock accuracy. "Many solution providers offer a system they say is omnichannel-ready, when in reality it isn't actually ready," Withers explains. The offer from Retail Reload and Mainetti is intended not only to improve stock accuracy but also drive other benefits, the companies explain.

Retail Reload's software captures data related to the movements of goods between sites such as stores and a DC, and within a store, then provides analytics and other information to help retailers understand what is taking place with their goods. For instance, a company could capture data about when a specific item enters a fitting room, which other items are being brought into that fitting room with it and whether any subsequent sales occur. The solution, Curtat explains, "turns stores into mini DCs to provide 'click and collect' availability."

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