Nice to have or Need to have? Multi-brand and department stores turn towards RFID
Apr 29, 2022
With digitalisation on the rise and improved efficiency as purpose, the number of retailers and multi-brand stores adopting RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) into their business strategy is increasing, including retail giants like XXL All Sports United, Decathlon and Nordstrom amongst others.
After successfully using RFID for apparel, US retail giant Walmart is now expanding its RFID mandate to scores of additional products. In the near future, suppliers will be required to include RFID on tags or packaging for all non-food products including kitchen and dining, home decor, furniture, storage and electronics among others.
The future of RFID in retail is on a rising curve. Trimco Group has already supported several brands on their journey to implement RFID tags both those implementing in their own retail or DC environments as well as brands who are supplying multi-brand retailers without any own RFID solution in place.
What are the benefits?
One clear goal for retailers is to have real-time inventory visibility for omnichannel fulfilment as the importance of ship-from-store, “buy online, pick up in-store” (BOPIS) and “buy online, pick up at curb” (BOPAC) continues to grow.
However, the benefits for retailers don’t stop there. RFID can improve self-checkout, enhancing the customer experience, reducing queues and by-passing time-consuming barcode scanning. RFID solutions can strengthen loss prevention by showing retailers exactly which items went missing, when, and where — and how that fits with store trends.
With all of these benefits in mind, it’s no surprise that multi-brand retailers, in particular department stores, are increasingly adopting RFID.
So why should brands care?
While some multi-brand retailers manage the RFID on their own, many more are making it part of their labelling requirements.
Brands with primary sales channels in multi-brand retailers who have specific labelling requirements receive RFID requirements from these large retailers including XXL Sports United and Decathlon. To RFID-enable their products, brands have a choice – tag at their warehouse upon shipment, pay a service fee to the retailer, or source tag their products at the point of manufacturing.
Espen Terland, CIO at XXL All Sports United, said for Retail Technology magazine, as they turned towards RFID for a rollout in all their Norwegian stores by the end of first half of 2022: “We tried to offer omnichannel services like click & 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 close to 100% accuracy, and this really builds the foundation for us to trust our stock levels, digitise our store inventory, display this online and optimise our customers’ experience by giving them the items they want, when they want them.”
US fashion retailer Nordstrom recently issued a supplier mandate for reliable RFID tags performing in their retail environment for exclusively RFID enabled deliveries of apparel, accessories, home and gift products, baby gear, shoes and some cosmetics supply.
Macy’s was an early adaptor, deploying RFID in 2013 based on a need for inventory visibility. Since 2016 Macy’s have used smart in-store and employee exits gates equipped with sensors to read the RFID tags leaving the stores, utilising the RFID tags for fast customer checkout while adding security measures. As a crime-preventing initiative, Macy’s can use the technology to understand which type of products are more likely to be stolen at what times of year and via access to video footage can determine how the goods left the shop floor.
Several of the brands that turn to the source tagged RFID labels provided by Trimco Group are using RFID either in their own channels or other multi-brand stores including department store chains like Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom. An ever-increasing number of Trimco RFID customers are using RFID in both of these instances.