Did you have fun with your annual inventory count? Consider to use RFID, run your retail business more accurate than ever and make shoppers happy!

Taking down the Christmas decoration, preparing the next collection, planning new customer events – these are all necessary tasks in retail in the new year. But there is still one more thing that often feels like a returning headache: the annual (and manual) inventory count. As these counts are often still performed manually or with barcode-based scanning, this procedure is not only annoying, it also distracts from the most important task: taking care of the customers.

“RFID makes the work involved in stocktaking and product handling quick and easy – freeing up time for staff to spend with customers.” – Karl-Johan Persson, CEO H&M

At the same time, the mandatory count just provides a one-off stock information as a “snapshot”, resulting in inaccuracies for the continuing 12 months. You could categorize this “concerted action” as a “condemned procedure”, because it is stress, tiring and often error-prone. Totally different with RFID – that is fun! More importantly, easy and regular counts result in a real-time inventory visibility.

Manage stock on sub-location level
RFID enables for more than just inventory visibility on store level. Once RFID labels are applied, a store can perform RFID stock counts whenever needed and track item movements to determine the exact location and the status of a product. This makes it possible to distinguish which items are available on the sales floor and which items are hidden in the stock room. This gives a clear picture about the actual stock situation in a store and enables the store staff to always put the right items on display and optimize the on-shelf availability.

Unchain stores from physical shielding
However, retailers need to be aware that RFID can read through walls. That means that some sort of shielding is required to make sure that the sub-location data is reliable. To solve this, Nedap’s !D Cloud RFID software platform includes the unique ‘virtual shielding’ functionality, which automatically derives the correct sub-location for items, based on an advanced allocation algorithm. This eliminates the need to shield the stock room from the sales floor with physical (e.g. aluminum foil) shielding. In large-scale RFID deployments, this saves significant costs.

Total inventory visibility for the shopper
RFID on item-level truly enables retailers to run their business on granular data, which makes it possible for them to take full control over their inventory levels and offer a seamless shopping experience to their customers – no matter if they start or end their customer journey online or offline. Thus, accurate stock information will ensure availability of the right product, in the right place, at the right time.

You want to learn more? Then visit the !D Cloud page or meet us at the NRF Retail’s Big Show in New York to hear firsthand from peer retailers how they improve their stock accuracy using RFID.

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About the author: Tom Vieweger

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