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Vendors Offer Free Retail Display Tracking

A trio of companies believe tracking promotional displays with RFID will demonstrate to retailers and consumer packaged goods companies an ROI that is easy to attain.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Manufacturers and retailers will be able to track when the tagged displays reach a store, when they're moved to the sales floor and how long they remain there—all in near-real time, the companies say. This information will then be integrated across many stores and processed by analytic tools that are part of OATaxiom software residing on Intel Itanium 2 processor-based servers at a central location. The analysis, which evaluates the success of promotional programs, will be shared with the participating retailers and suppliers.

"This is an example of hardware, software and services companies coming together, working with suppliers and encouraging retailers to use RFID," says Randy Dunn, director of RFID for ADT Security Services. "It'll be a great way to demonstrate an ROI to retailers." He notes that because the RFID infrastructure to be deployed is standards-based (all readers and tags will be UHF EPC Gen 2), this will discourage retailers from deploying proprietary systems preventing suppliers from leveraging their existing RFID infrastructures.

The three RFID product and services vendors say they will work with the retailers to select one or more academic institutions to run a study of the program. They will then deliver a final report to participants evaluating the program's effectiveness, such as whether the use of RFID data led to improved promotions execution.

"If we can work with just one [academic institution], that'll be great—but the retailers might request different ones," says Eric Townsend, who works in RFID business development at Intel. The study will include control groups consisting of promotional displays not tracked with RFID. The researchers will compare sales for control groups with those for the RFID-tracked promotional displays, providing analysis at the end of the six-month trial.

The three firms are collaborating on the program, which will kick off a product and services offering called Real-time Promotion Execution (RPE). The same products and services the vendors are providing to subsidize the Promotions-on-Standards program will be available in the RPE offering.

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