Retail in Asia

In Trends

Leveraging wireless stock control technology to enhance consumer experience

Wireless technology, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), that uses radiofrequency waves to identify an item, has become one of the preferred asset tracking solutions for retailers looking for optimised inventory management to improve the overall customer experience.

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Nedap, a RFID solutions provider, has been working with global brands such as Under Armour, GANNI and Scotch and Soda to implement RFID technology to unlock their omnichannel strategies.

Knowing what is in stock and where items are located throughout the supply chain has become critical. This is the primary reason why leading athletic performance brand Under Armour turned to Nedap’s new iD Cloud platform, an integrated suite of SaaS solutions, built for RFID technology that gathers all inventory data into one place to create perfect inventory visibility.

Under Armour began using the platform to drive operational efficiencies. Improvements in store accuracy through RFID is key to unlocking a powerful omnichannel strategy and enables Under Armour to create a more seamless and connected shopping experience across all consumer touchpoints.

Bob Neville, Vice President of Global Retail at Under Armour said: “At Under Armour, we are focused on growing our direct-to-consumer (DTC) distribution channels. With that in mind, it is crucial that we invest in solutions that will improve the experience of our target consumer, the Focused Performer, when shopping at Under Armour. We don’t see RFID as a nice to have, we see it as vital to bringing the retail experience to the next level. We are excited to partner with Nedap to bring this to life in our stores around the world.”

RFID helps drive sustainability in retail

The demand for sustainability is present throughout the supply chain. Consumers want to know the environmental impact of the products they are purchasing. At the same time, brands are looking for ways to prevent overstocking and ultimately overproduction.

According to fashion brand GANNI, which is currently rapidly expanding in Asia, every investment should come with the question ‘Do we really make a difference here or can we do better?’

“Increasing customer satisfaction is also an important driver for us and we want to show that the fashion industry can do better. Implementing RFID allows us to get full visibility of stock in our stores. This builds the fundamentals for omnichannel services, like ship-from-store. The opportunity to consolidate store and DC inventory allows us to use items where we need them. This eliminates overstocking and overproduction, while we make sure our customers are still happy with us,” comments Karolin Stjerna, Supply Chain Director at GANNI.

Importance of item visibility due to COVID-19

Fashion brand Scotch and Soda has also faced a dramatic shift in shopper behavior during the ongoing pandemic. With stores in the world’s biggest cities and shipping to over 70 countries, being informed of the dynamics of countries going in and out of lockdowns made it even more important for Scotch and Soda to optimize the view on stock levels within their supply chain. This way, the balance of stock in-store and distribution centers can be adjusted to the local situation.

“If you promise to have something, you have to keep up your promise, and that availability is provided by technology,” said Rik Kok, Scotch and Soda’s Global Director of Procurement and Real estate.

Inventory visibility and accuracy allows retailers to lessen their total stock holding and ultimately sell more as they can allocate products to stores that need them. Products got more chances to sell while retailers can tackle excess inventory, an industry-wide issue.

The best technology to address customers’ needs

The pandemic changed consumer shopping behaviors who are now expecting a seamless omnichannel experience and fast delivery highlighting the importance of supply chain visibility. Brands and retailers cannot make fulfillment promises without an accurate view of their inventory.

At the same time, consumers are also becoming increasingly aware of the far-reaching implications of how they shop, consume and dispose of everyday items and they demand more transparency to make informed shopping decisions.

In response to these shifts in consumer behavior, retailers and brands need to break down their inventory silos and create a single view of stock across their entire supply chain. The best way to do this is by tracking every unique item’s movement and collecting data in a cloud-based inventory repository. Whether it’s to track the stock in stores and in distribution centers or to strengthen loss prevention efforts, the RFID technology enables businesses to track every single item from the moment it leaves the production factory to the exact moment the item is shipped, sold or returned.

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The past 24 months have taught us that consumer behaviors and expectations could shift swiftly. Brands and retailers should make use of the available retail technologies to stay ahead and thrive. When it comes to stock control, RFID has become a must-have for today’s omnichannel retailers.

Find out more about Nedap RFID solutions for retailers here.