European Sports Retailer Boosts Inventory Accuracy via RFID

By Rich Handley

XXL All Sports United, working with Securitas, has implemented Nedap's iD Cloud platform, achieving both in-store and e-commerce gains.

European sports and outdoor retailer  XXL All Sports United has deployed  Nedap's iD Cloud platform, an integrated suite of software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions built for radio frequency identification technology (see  Nedap Launches RFID Platform for Supply Chain Visibility). The company's primary reason for implementing RFID, according to Nedap, was to increase its inventory accuracy, and the deployment has resulted in high operational gains both in stores and with regard to e-commerce. The project was implemented by Nedap's partner Securitas.

XXL All Sports United operates in the Nordic region, with stores in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Austria. The company operates large-unit stores in those nations, as well as an e-commerce platform in all four countries and a pure e-commerce offering based in Denmark. XXL has deployed the iD Cloud solution at all of its Norwegian stores and plans to finalize the rollout to the remainder of its 89 megastores before the end of the first half of 2022.

XXL All Sports United has implemented Nedap's iD Cloud platform at its stores.

Prior to the RFID implementation, Nedap says, XXL All Sports United reported in-store inventory accuracy of 75 to 85 percent. Not only did the retailer tend to lose in-store sales due to not having the correct items available to customers, but this also led to inefficiencies in fulfilling its e-commerce orders. In some cases, XXL had to procure items from multiple stores just to get a single order out of the door.

Pål Wibe

"We were pleased to see that we grew in all our markets this past year," said Pål Wibe, XXL All Sports United's CEO. "Now it is up to us to maintain and further strengthen this position. One of the key contributors to this growth is our e-commerce strategy. If we want to stay in the driver seat, we need healthy inventory and operational excellence. RFID is a key technology to make this happen."

Espen Terland, the company's CIO, added, "We tried to offer omnichannel services like click and collect with other technologies. However, none of these provided us with what we really needed: a single point of truth, showing all inventory we have available. We are now at close to 100 percent accuracy, and this really builds the foundation for us to trust our stock levels, digitize our store inventory, display this online and optimize our customers' experience by giving them the items they want, when they want them."

Espen Terland

According to Nedap, the dynamics of countries going into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of having total stock visibility. Because of the RFID implementation, XXL All Sports United is now able to replenish its store stock in a much more detailed way than it could previously, as well as leverage that stock to fulfill e-commerce orders and offer omnichannel services. "This way," Terland explained, "we optimize the customer experience against healthy margins."

At any given time, XXL has between 70,000 and 100,000 items in each store, and refilling processes thus used to take several hours to complete, increasing the risk of stock-outs. "Based on RFID data, store associates are now able to quickly look up on their mobile devices the items they need to refill," Terland stated. "This ensures that we always have the right item available." By limiting the amount of time that employees spend replenishing store shelves, he added, "We can now spend more time helping customers."

Kim André Dalsaune

XXL All Sports United sells RFID source-tagged items from Under Armour and other brands. Non-tagged items will be provided with RFID labels in stores, or as a value-added service by some of the brands. The more brands that come in source-tagged, Nedap notes, the higher the efficiency gains the retailer expects to achieve.

"It's a pleasure to work with the biggest and fastest-growing sports and outdoor retailer in the Nordics in partnership with Nedap," said Kim André Dalsaune, Securitas Norway's sales manager. "The growth XXL All Sports United achieved, especially in the past year, is impressive, and the implementation of RFID technology will support them becoming the most preferred sports and outdoor destination. By digitizing inventory using the Nedap iD Cloud platform, XXL All Sports United will be able to use every unique item where it is most needed: in one of their megastores or online."