PacSun to Expand RFID Pilot This Summer

By James Hickey, Managing Editor, RFIDJournal.com

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  • Executive extolls success of program in more accurate inventory count
  • More efficient antennae have turned the used of RFID turning it into a “game changer”

PacSun intends to build upon a current pilot of RFID technology in its stores.

For the past six months, the retailer has been integrating RFID technology into its Manhattan Associates Active Omni store inventory solution at 50 stores. PacSun entered into an agreement earlier this year with Nedap to implement RFID across the company’s stores earlier this year.

Company officials said they chose Nedap’s iD Cloud solution to increase inventory accuracy, inform replenishment decisions, and improve both omnichannel and in-store experiences.

As a new technology for the teen apparel and accessories retailer, RFID was promoted to deliver value as stores create a higher level of transparency with customers and fulfill more customer orders.

Use of RFID

Nedap’s Virtual Shielding algorithms was expected to allow the retailer to digitally identify article location at 98 percent accuracy, a labor savings that contributed to selecting iD Cloud Store. One of the top reasons company officials said they chose iD is that it improves omnichannel fulfillment and increases buy-online-pickup-in-store usage.

Now, Shirley Gao, chief digital and information officer, explained the technology has allowed PacSun’s store employees to make adjustment at their brick-and-mortar stores due to a more detailed and accurate inventory count in a published interview last month.

The RFID-based system has enabled store associates to capture new arrivals, items they may have previously missed with a manual count and locate missing products in stores.

PacSun’s Gao Comments

“You can use the ‘Geiger’ mode on the RFID scanner to automatically locate an item needed to fulfill an order from the store,” said Gao in the interview with Chain Store Age. “There is also a new feature for an associate on the floor to find items in the back room that are not on the shelf, such as a different size or color of an item on display. This makes sure you can present your store inventory to customers at close to 100 percent.”

Gao compared RFID to a “magic wand” when it comes to stock inventory and reducing labor hours.

“Previously, it could take up to a day to determine if an item was on the shelf or in the back room. There would be unopened boxes of products in stores,’ she said. “In one store test, within 30 minutes we found 30 styles that had been turning up in the inventory.”

“Game Changer”

More efficient antennae have turned the use of RFID turning it into a “game changer” for retail as it gives “associates are given more time to devote to customer service,” said the PacSun executive.

Officials noted the cloud-based Active Omni program has unified commerce platform to enable fulfillment of online orders from stores as well as distribution centers.

When the RFID pilot was announced, the company eyed it as an opportunity to meet the demand of their social media savvy Gen Z customers who want exclusive merch when it drops. Currently, the retailer leverages Active Omni to create curated inventory assortments for digital partners such as Amazon and Instagram.

“We can show available PacSun inventory from specific assortments for customers to order through the partner’s site,” Gao said. “The order is then sent to a store for fulfillment.” Orders are packed at a PacSun store for delivery by a third-party provider, such as Amazon or FedEx.

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