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New Brazilian Fashion Chain Launches With RFID

At its debut store, Memove is using its garments' sewn-in EPC Gen 2 tags to increase efficiency at its DC and store, as well as improve its customers' experiences.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 28, 2011Three weeks after launching an item-level RFID system at its first Memove store, as well as at a distribution center, Valdac Global Brands reports that the technology has enabled its DC to reduce the time previously required for its staff to perform inventory counts, from several days down to mere hours.

At the store, located in the Shopping Tamboré shopping center, in São Paulo, Brazil, the benefits of deploying radio frequency identification have yet to be measured, the company reports. However, the RFID solution is intended to not only help the firm ensure that products are on the sales floor, but also enable customers to purchase items without seeking help from a sales clerk. The technology also acts as an electronic article surveillance (EAS) system, sounding an alert in the event that an item leaves the store without being purchased. The system was designed and installed by Brazilian RFID company RFSense, which developed the middleware that forwards RFID data to Linx Systems software residing on Memove's back-end server. Impinj RFID readers were provided by Synergy, a Brazilian systems integrator that sells a range of RFID products, solutions and services. Standards organization GS1 Brazil acted as advisor on the project.

A label with an EPC Gen 2 RFID inlay is sewn into each garment at the factory.

Valdac Global Brands plans to open stores dedicated to its new fashion brand throughout Brazil. Memove targets fashion-conscious consumers between ages and 18 and 25, with the intention of being cutting-edge in its use of technology. For that reason, the first Memove store has mounted screens on which customers can watch music videos or sports games, and also provides Apple iPads for browsing the Internet. In addition, the company wanted to make it possible for customers to easily pay for purchases, without needing to queue up at a counter to wait for a sales associate. The RFID solution makes it possible to purchase apparel quickly, while also ensuring that non-purchased goods are not removed from the premises.

With the "Source to Floor" solution that RFSense provided, Memove can track each of the store's approximately 40,000 products, from the point of manufacture through the DC, to the store, onto the shelf and finally at the point of sale (POS), according to Nikhil Deulkar, Impinj's senior product line manager.

Nikhil Deulkar, Impinj's senior product line manager
The company began fleshing out its RFID plans in January 2010 (see Brazil's Valdac Turns to RFID for Style and Savings), and the system went live on Oct. 7, 2011, at the Memove store and the DC that serves it. Memove's apparel manufacturers in Brazil, China and other countries are sewing an EPC Gen 2 passive RFID label into each item. The labels, developed by Haco Etiquetas, incorporate Valid RFID inlays made with Impinj's Monza 5 chips. Each label's RFID tag is encoded with an Electronic Product Code (EPC) consisting of a Serialised Global Trade Item Number (SGTIN) linked to the product's stock-keeping unit (SKU), and is read as the label is sewn into the garment, in order to verify that it is operating properly. Memove is expected to employ 5 million tags next year, Impinj reports.

When the apparel is received at the distribution center, each garment's RFID label is interrogated by one of the DC's two Impinj Speedway xPortal readers. RFSense also provided the DC with a conveyor belt fitted with an Impinj Speedway Revolution R420 reader. The RFID tags are read at three separate points: when the products are received, as they are placed in storage and when they are shipped out. In this way, Memove knows which goods are on hand at the distribution center, as well as when they are en route to the store.

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