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RFID Brings Intelligence to Billabong Store in Brazil

The store is applying EPC Gen 2 tags to its merchandise, and piloting applications that allow customers to make clothing selections in changing rooms, and provide inventory, point of sale and security data to the staff.
By Claire Swedberg
Aug 22, 2011A new RFID-enabled system being tested at Billabong sportswear clothing store in the Iguatemi Alphaville shopping mall located in the Brazilian city of Barueri, reportedly increased the number of visitors to the store by more than 300 people in the first week. The store's manager, Marcelo Chiaparini, says the boost to the store's traffic, fueled by curiosity about the technology and how it was being used, also led to higher sales.

The system, launched at the store on Aug. 9, includes RFID data management software from VIP-Systems and EPC Gen 2 passive RFID tags from RR Etiquetas and UPM RFID. The software is integrated with the store's legacy point-of-sale (POS) and back-office inventory systems.

Marcelo Chiaparini
The tags, which are on every item in the store, provide staff with inventory and point-of-sale data, and the RFID system includes an electronic article surveillance (EAS) application coupled with cameras at the exit. Customers can use the RFID system to view information about products on the sales floor and in its fitting rooms, as well as a way to request more items from staff.

VIP-Systems, which developed the system, was launched in 1997 to provide technology for access control, industrial and retail applications. The company's president, Regiane Relva Romano, is completing her Ph.D. in retail with a focus on how technology can improve customer experience. The RFID applications the company developed for Billabong's deployment include features such as a Smart POS, Smart Dressing Room, Smart Logistics, Smart Exhibitor, Smart Inventory, Smart Loss Prevention, Smart Replenishment and others that can improve the interactivity and the mobility of customers and employees.

Billabong implemented a total of 15 VIP-Systems applications, all integrated in the store, which carries about 5,000 items on the sales floor at any given time, with several additional garments for each size and style stored in the back room. The RFID portion of the system includes just three RFID interrogators: one handheld reader for staff to conduct inventory of its products in the back room; one fixed reader with multiple antennas for the Smart Exhibitor and Smart Shelves applications, and one with multiple antennas to read tags in the dressing room, at the point of sale and at the front door.

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