Learning from Target

The retailer, which has embraced RFID as a core of its omnichannel strategy, is setting traffic and sales records, while laggards struggle to develop a coherent strategy for retailing in the 21st century.
Published: August 27, 2018

Target announced its second-quarter results on Aug. 22, and they show that the company’s transformation efforts are succeeding. Traffic was up by 6.4 percent, which is the biggest increase since the company began reporting traffic in 2008. Comparable sales increased by 6.5 percent, the best the retailer has achieved in 13 years. It’s not all online, either—comparable store sales grew by 4.9 percent.

How did Target achieve this success, when so many other brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling? It wasn’t just one thing. It was an overarching strategy of improving the look of its stores, boosting supply chain and in-store inventory visibility, and using that visibility to enable true omnichannel retailing (see Target Announces Nationwide RFID Rollout).

Target has embraced RFID to enable it to find product quickly within stores, and to deliver it to the customer or have it ready for that person to pick up in-store. Many retailers are struggling with shipping items from stores and with buy-online pickup-in-store (“BOPIS” if you are in the United States and “click and collect” if you are in Europe). Their inventory accuracy is so poor that staff members can’t find items and customers end up disappointed. But Target’s efforts have been an unqualified success.

I’m pleased that we will have Kevin O’Dare, Target’s lead business partner for inventory management and store operations, participating in a panel discussion at our upcoming RFID in Retail and Apparel 2018 event, being held on Oct. 3 in New York City. The title of the session is “RFID in Retail: Where the Benefits Are.” Kevin’s a great guy, and he has some great insights into how RFID fits in with a retailer’s overall strategy.

I would also encourage you, if you haven’t already done so, to download our white paper, “How to Succeed in Retail in the 21st Century: A Guide to Digital Transformation for Brick-and-Mortar Retailers.” This document explains why RFID is the foundation for change and how it can be integrated with other technologies, such as video analytics, big data, artificial intelligence and optimization technologies, to enable true omnichannel retailing—and marketing.

RFID in Retail & Apparel is open only to retailers and their suppliers, who can attend for free. It’s an opportunity to learn from Target and others that have achieved real benefits from using RFID technology.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal.