Detego Speeds Up Returns Handling for Retailers

By RFID Journal

The company has announced a solution to help retailers manage an increasing number of e-commerce returns as they focus their efforts on online sales during the coronavirus crisis.

Retail RFID software company Detego has announced a new solution to support retailers and help them maintain business continuity during the ongoing effects of COVID-19. The solution, available to retailers using RFID, will allow brands to adapt to the increased pressure on their DC and DTC operations as e-commerce becomes their primary sales channel. With the technology, retailers will be able to utilize efficient RFID processes to drastically increase the speed of handling returns directly from consumers back into their distribution centers.

Detego, which partners with several major fashion retail brands, says it aims to alleviate some of the pressure on retailers due to the COVID-19 pandemic by improving their e-commerce operations and returns process to accommodate the increased demand. With retail sales down and brick-and-mortar stores being heavily affected by closures and social-distancing measures, a major shift to online shopping is taking place.

While the majority of retailers run e-commerce operations alongside their physical stores, Detego reports, this typically accounts for only 10 to 15 percent of their overall retail sales. For omnichannel retailers, e-commerce has now become the primary sales channel for the foreseeable future. There is already early evidence of this, according to the company, with preliminary data from Quantum Metric showing that e-commerce associated with brick-and-mortar retailers achieved an average revenue weekly growth rate increase of 52 percent.This sudden shift to e-commerce will pose significant challenges for many retail distribution centers, Detego indicates, as supply chains and operational systems may struggle or buckle under the increased pressure. The primary challenge that comes with increased online sales is the subsequent increase in returns. While shoppers return only 10 percent of what they purchase in stores, they send back up to 50 percent of what they buy online. The major capacity concern will be in the increased rate of online orders and will most likely present bottlenecks and stockouts in the returns process.

The new returns module, part of Detego's end-to-end RFID platform, is intended to strengthen distribution centers by utilizing the fast and efficient inbound RFID reading of cartons and boxes to verify against a target list, based on the items returned from a customer. The software-as-a-service (SaaS)-enabled solution can be integrated with all standard RFID hardware and warehouse-management systems (WMS) to count, verify, display, track and manage inventory moving from a DC or DTC to consumers or wholesalers, Detego reports, as well as processing all returns back to the DC or DTC. Additional functionality will allow retailers to use a quality-grading system and display product imagery to more effectively identify and sort inbound returns.

Detego says RFID-enabled retailers utilizing the solution can achieve greater flexibility in ordering and fulfilment due to the forecasting of incoming returns and shipments, and up to 90 percent faster processing times. This not only prevents bottlenecks from occurring in supply chains due to unprocessed returns, the company notes, but also ensures that stock is made available as soon as possible upon being returned, thereby reducing out-of-stocks at webshops. This is in addition to the 100 percent shipping accuracy that RFID tags provide, as well as the ability to verify the legitimacy of returns using unique digital identity.