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Maternity Apparel Maker to Deploy Smart Displays in Stores

To help it track inventory and sales, Tomorrow's Mother will supply tagged garments and RFID-enabled fixtures to department stores in the United States and Canada.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 08, 2007Maternity apparel company Tomorrow's Mother is gearing up to employ a smart-shelf technology solution to manage its maternity departments in 384 stores across the United States and Canada, beginning with pilots in two Minnesota stores in January 2008. Full-scale deployment is expected to occur on a gradual basis, starting in March 2008.

The smart-shelf system will use RFID-enabled product displays to provide better visibility of the company's garments. The system, supplied by Seeonic, incorporates SkyeTek RFID interrogator modules, including SkyeTek's M9 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) and M2 high-frequency (HF) models, though the Tomorrow's Mother deployment will utilize only the M9. The system will provide real-time tracking of some of the store's maternity goods and garments on an RFID-enabled display.

Harley Feldman
Tomorrow's Mother leases maternity departments in stores across the United States and Canada. Many of these stores are located in small towns spread out across North America, and though Tomorrow's Mother staff visit the stores, they can't be there to conduct a manual count on a regular basis.

Typically, Tomorrow's Mother relies on the department stores to help it track inventory through their own sales records and data-management systems. In some cases, the stores provide no electronic data at all. Without a smart-shelf solution, Tomorrow's Mother is at the mercy of each store's inventory management system (which varies from merchant to merchant) and often receives its inventory and sales data too late to place replenishment orders.

To remedy the inadequacy of such a data-tracking system, the retailer is seeking access to real-time data about its inventory at all the stores in which it leases space. "With RFID technology," says Al Dittrich, CEO and president of Tomorrow's Mother, "we could get on-hand information from anywhere in North America without integrating into the department stores' systems."

To that end, Tomorrow's Mother will employ Seeonic's "Glass Shelf," a product display equipped with four antennas and an RFID interrogator that transmit inventory data to Seeonic's "Glass Pipeline" data service. Tomorrow's Mother will then be able to access that service via an Internet connection to monitor its tagged clothing at stores throughout the United States and Canada.

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