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Grupo Exito Launches Major Electronics Tagging Pilot

The Colombian retailer has tagged more than 45,000 items at its new electronics store in Bogota.
By Mark Roberti
Dec 07, 2011Grupo Éxito, one of the largest retail chains in Colombia, has launched a major pilot in which the company is placing EPC Gen 2 passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags on every item at a new electronics store—known as Éxito Techno—in an innovative effort to determine if radio frequency identification can improve the traceability of products across the supply chain, while also reducing shrinkage, by tracking items from distribution center to point of sale. The deployment will remain in the pilot stage through at least the end of this month, the company reports, after which the results will be analyzed.

"Éxito has always been a company that uses technology to achieve a competitive advantage," says Luis Fernando Castañeda, Éxito's head of loss prevention. "We heard about the benefits RFID was bringing retailers in Europe and the United States, including improved inventory accuracy and reduced shrinkage, so the company decided to put some resources into better understanding how RFID could improve the way we do business."

Every item sold at the new Éxito Techno store is tagged with an RFID label.

Grupo Éxito had already conducted several RID pilots (see RFID Heats Up in Latin America), but this year, the company's management decided to be more aggressive. Given that it was expanding by opening stores that sell only electronics—a category prone to high shrinkage rates—the retailer opted to launch a major pilot at its first such store, which debuted in May 2011. The firm chose to tag everything sold at the store, including low-cost items, such as technology magazines and gift cards. The team is employing Avery Dennison's AD-224 RFID tags for most items, and AD-805 tags for smaller products, such as USB drives.

Exito's Luis Fernando Castañeda
The retailer worked with LOGyCA, a Bogotá-based consulting and services firm, which helped to design the system, and ADT Colombia, which worked with Éxito and LOGyCa to develop an application for matching items shipped with those arriving at the store.

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