Peering Into The Future Of Retail (Part 1)
In the wake of the global economic woes of the recent years, it is all but expected the retailer will need to adapt to a new consumer and refocus to push through and maintain their businesses. The modus operandi of today’s retailer needs to be shaken up.
Each year our industry is treated to the latest and greatest in technology and retail trends from industry leaders at the National Retail Federation’s annual “Big Show”. 2011 was no different with the NRF putting on the 100th anniversary of the Big Show.
One could write a novella to cover all of the products and technology which are showcased at NRF to improve the retailer’s abilities to service their customers well. Unfortunately we don’t have the space for all of those ones and zeros. Instead we found three key trends to have been echoed unanimously across the sea of technology and products, improving the management of merchandise in one’s store(s), leveraging today’s mobile platforms, and most importantly Customer Centricity.
RFID Managed Inventory
The single most important requirement of every retailer is simple - Sell! Without goods to sell retail is pretty much non-existent. Therefore, knowing how much stock you have and more importantly where that stock is becomes extremely important in day-to-day operations. The adoption of the retail management system has made handling this task much simpler when compared to the inventory management methods of yesteryear. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is the next game changing tool for the management of a retailer’s inventory.
RFID has been in use for many years, and is common place in many industries. The transportation industries have been using RFID since the mid 90’s, and most recently the banking industries have adopted RFID for point of service payments. In general though, the costs associated with its use have limited the markets where RFID can be used effectively.
In 2010, however, RFID has seen a major resurgence. The formation of an international standard, decreased cost for the equipment and tags necessary, and reliability of nearly 99.9% has made RFID technology a reality for all retailers. Retail giants like Macy’s, Wal-Mart, and The Gap are actively working to make RFID the way merchandise is handled within their store operations.
The implementation and use of RFID will drive inventory accuracy to levels never before seen by the retailers across the globe. At the NRF Big Show Peter Sachse, CMO of Macy’s Inc. and Chairman and CEO of Macy’s.com, praised RFID for taking inventory accuracy from 60-70% to nearly 95% in its locations which have implemented RFID for inventory management. Given increases of this magnitude, the ROI, it sells itself.
Retail is ready for RFID. Make sure you are as well.
Stay tuned for part 2, on Mobile Trends
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