RFID Solution Helps Apparel Retailer Achieve Inventory Accuracy

October 15, 2014 Lea DeJarlais

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After a successful one-year RFID pilot at 13 of their Soma Intimates stores, Chico’s FAS Inc. is making the installations permanent and is considering expanding the solution into other store locations. The solution, provided by Tyco Retail solutions, provides item-level tracking during the shipping (from the distribution center to the back room to the sales floor) and selling (point of sale and exit) of items.

Selling intimates can be challenging—merchandise styles, sizes and colors vary greatly, and the sales floor must be stocked with all varieties at all times. These small, hard-to-handle items also make conducting inventory counts of the sales floor challenging. Because of this, Soma stores traditionally only ran inventory counts a few times a year, making it hard for sales staff to know what was on the sales floor at any time.

With RFID, inventory management has become much easier. Each garment is tagged with an Avery Dennison AD-318 tag, featuring an Impinj Monza 5 tag chip, before being shipping to the store. Upon arrival, staff members use a Motorola handheld reader, powered by Impinj, to capture and record all tag IDs in the box. The tags are read again by fixed readers, also powered by Impinj, as they are moved to the sales floor. At the point of sale, a reader identifies what’s being purchased and updates the product’s status as sold. Finally, as a customer leaves the store, readers installed at store exits capture product tag IDs. If the item is not marked as purchased at the POS, the system will identify it as shrinkage and update the software to show the merchandise is missing.

 The RFID system has also been helping store staff in other ways. They have been using the handheld readers to inventory and replenish the sales floor weekly, ensuring store inventory accuracy of 90 to 95 percent at all times. Sales staff also uses handheld readers when helping customers locate specific items.

Source: RFID Journal

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