Annual Inventory Count

Consider using RFID, run your retail business more accurate than ever and make shoppers happy!

Did you have fun with your annual inventory count?

By Tom Vieweger

January 7 2020

Another year, same story: in a concerted action with its own staff or even an external service provider, many retailers have to spend a lot of time and effort on their annual inventory count at the end of the fiscal year. This means an intensive procedure, which is not only time-consuming but even costs a lot of money.

At the same time, it just provides accurate inventory information as a single “snapshot”. Since this information gets outdated over time, stock inaccuracies are continuously growing for the coming 12 months.

As a consequence, stores face lost sales due to out-of-stocks. Let’s be fair: how can you rely on a December count in March? 

“Stock-taking with RFID is fun, easy, and ten times faster than barcode scanning.”   

There is also good news: counting stock with RFID is fun! Stock-taking with RFID is typically ten times faster than barcode scanning. More importantly, easy and regular counts will result in end-to-end real-time stock visibility.  

Teaming up with my colleague Tjibbe van der Laan, who is the Product Manager for our iD Cloud RFID software platform, we want to dive deeper into the benefits of RFID-based stock management for retailers. 

Do inventory counts whenever you want 

For enabling human-centric store operations, more and more retailers equip their sales associates with smart mobile companions. As one of our valued customers once said: “If you are familiar with using an iPhone, it’s like second nature.” Particularly in times where online and offline channels get connected, competent employees personate the link to the customer. With smart mobile devices, like smartphones or tablets, the store assistants can seamlessly help and advise the customers. Adding RFID significantly reduces non-productive operations, especially for counting or searching items in the store. 

Our customers’ most beloved features 

With RFID technology, store employees can not only execute stock counts with the greatest of ease: since RFID has many more advantages, we see that store teams embrace the technology. The deep insight into the actual stocks enables them to provide a better service because they never again have to say ‘No’ to their customers. We asked the users of our iD Cloud RFID software platform which features they love most and here is their top three: 

  1. Assisted Counting, Team Count & Partial Counts
    With this feature, store associates can always see how far they are in the counting process, but also which items have not been counted yet. Synchronized over the cloud and utilizing unique product IDs stored on the RFID chip, it cannot happen that you count too much. Even if someone already scanned a particular product and you will capture the same item again, the system knows that it is unique and can only be there one time. 
  2. Smart Virtual Shielding
    The ‘virtual shielding'  feature is a functionality that automatically derives the correct sub-location for items, based on signal strength combined with an advanced, self-learning algorithm, which removes the need to shield the stock room from the sales-floor with foil shielding.

Live Refill Recommendations
Often, some real treasure is literally hidden in the backrooms of a store. An RFID count per sub-location can unleash these treasures and store teams can easily and accurately start refilling. The refill functionality generates store-specific refill lists based on sales data, actual and historic stock levels and is able to learn what products are most important on the sales floor. 

More than just a count – RFID guarantees merchandise availability 

As a matter of principle, RFID enables stock visibility and thus enabling more sales by an optimum merchandise availability. Zooming in to the store level, retailers will get accurate stock information if their store associates find the RFID solution easy, reliable and fun to work with because they spend less time searching for missing items and more time serving their customers. So: Let’s make more customers happy! 

Tom Vieweger
RFID business expert
Tom Vieweger