Fashion-Forward European Apparel Brand Leverages RFID to Improve Customer Service

February 25, 2015 Lea DeJarlais

marcopolo

RFID Journal reports German apparel company Marc O’Polo, a casual lifestyle brand know for its use of natural materials that reflect its Swedish roots, has set out to improve inventory processes, reduce item shrink, and free up employee time to focus on customer service with the implementation of an RFID tracking solution. The company also wanted a solution that would give them better visibility into what’s on the sales floor and what needs to be replenished, ultimately leading to better item availability and increased sales.

The implemented RFID solution tracks products from distribution to the store, enabling better product availability, onni-channel retailing, and in-store customer service improvements. The company is also expanding its deployment to include tagging clothing and accessories at the point of manufacture to enable full visibility into their supply chain.

Marc O’Polo began by piloting the RFID solution at the boutique located in the company’s headquarters, which proved to be an ideal environment for testing the system’s functionality in a real-world setting. Once proven, the system was rolled out to their distribution center (DC) and 86 stores across Europe. Since tagging at the point of manufacture isn’t rolled out yet, Marc O’Polo encodes tags and ships them to individual manufacturing sites where factory workers apply the tags. The products are then shipped to the DC, where Impinj readers identify the products upon receipt. At the store level, sales associates use handheld readers to identify received goods and reconcile any missing inventory. Upon receipt of products, the store’s inventory is automatically updated thanks to the software integration.

When a customer purchases an item, a reader installed at the point of sale captures the tag’s unique ID and removes it from the store’s inventory in real time. The final tag read happens at the store’s exit, where Impinj readers confirm that tags exiting the location were removed from the inventory during the sale transaction. If the item is still on the inventory list, an alarm will sound.

Marc O’Polo also sells its apparel through 165 franchise stores, 1,190 retail partners, and 1,320 multi-brand stores, so tagging at the point of manufacture will allow these partner retailers to also leverage RFID to improvement receiving and inventory taking processes. Eventually, these retail partners can also use RFID to develop compelling customer experiences like interactive displays and item locationing.

The RFID solution has enabled Marc O’Polo to obtain real-time, accurate inventory data and increase efficiency in logisitics. Ultimately, they are able to better help customers find what they need while shopping in store.

This month, the company is expanding the solution to its 17 factory outlet stores.

Photo Source: Marc O'Polo

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