Privacy and RFID

Spanish Retail Association (Asociación Española del Retail)

Interviewing Nedap’s Sergio Gutiérrez

“The store of the future will be experiential and customized to each customer. It is about creating a brand experience, motivating the customer to engage and once this has been achieved, the delivery of the product is key.”- Sergio Gutiérrez Business Development Manager Nedap

May 31 2021

How do you make people more productive and organizations more efficient through technology?

At Nedap we always want to help people make the most of their potential and fully utilize their talents. To do this, we first analyze each case in detail to understand what people need to be better at performing their jobs. I have to say that our product developers have a boundless curiosity to know what makes people successful in their work. Understanding this and being able to translate it into concrete solutions for every workplace is what makes Nedap valued around the world.

What are the challenges of digital transformation in business?

Driven by the current pandemic, consumer behavior has rapidly shifted to online shopping. It is undeniable that the main opportunities for the future of retail are digital: even before the "Covid-19 effect" this was a clear trend. Consumers spend a large part of their time on their smartphones, checking the news, watching their social networks and searching for what to buy. This was well seen in the period of closure with store closures, where it became absolutely tangible how vital the digital sales channel is today. However it develops in the coming months, what is certain is that the role of the physical store has changed forever and that brands and retailers must move with the rapidly changing consumer behavior if they want to remain successful.

What is IoT and how does it make life easier for retailers?

Data is becoming increasingly important to brands. The connectivity of devices (RFID readers, for example) brings endless opportunities to improve in-store omnichannel services, increase inventory levels and make products more quickly accessible to customers. Controlling what you sell and who you sell it to in a simpler way, for example, is possible thanks to technological solutions. In my opinion, this is a pillar on which the hyper-personalization of the consumer shopping experience will be built in the years to come.

The benefits of hyper-personalization to personalize customer offerings thanks to Big Data management, predictive analytics, AI, machine learning, cloud and radio frequency identification (RFID).

The range of technologies available to retailers today is super broad and enables brands to position themselves in relation to their customers in an increasingly relevant way. Undoubtedly, the right combination of these technologies enables a much more individualized shopping experience, tailored to the specific needs and tastes of consumers. This results in more profitable collections. At Nedap, we always advocate that the best shopping experience for a customer is based on the right availability of the item the customer wants, at the right time and in the right place. RFID is without a doubt the key to this.

Consumers have become hyper-demanding and if you want to prevent an online order from failing, inventory must be under control or you will lose a customer to your competitor.

What is the role of new technology, such as RFID, in digital transformation?

RFID itself is a very mature technology, as it has been around for decades and is widely used in many industries. In the retail sector, we are seeing many companies that were just looking at the technology at first, now taking steps to actively engage with it. This is a result of the need for reliable inventory that provides greater security when deploying omnichannel services such as Ship-from-Store or Click&Collect. Consumers have become hyper-demanding and if you want to prevent an online order from failing, inventory must be under control or you risk losing a customer to your competitor.

Multitask RFID: what can RFID mean for the retail value chain? Agility of inventory? Anti-theft? Interaction with the customer?

All of the above and more, the possibilities are endless. That is why it is so important to pay attention to the implementation of RFID. At Nedap, we help retailers get a unified view of their inventory, wherever it is in their supply chain. This makes it possible to track goods from their origin in the factory to the consumer. When inventory accuracy is perfect, you can add services such as customer interaction, item recommendations based on purchase history or viewed items, for example. We realize that many retailers and brands want to be able to deploy their inventory where it is most needed at any given time, whether in-store or for online orders. RFID also allows retailers to turn their stores into distribution centers in close proximity and fulfill their customers' on/off orders, speeding up delivery processes and making them more sustainable.

When it comes to loss prevention, Nedap is a benchmark. We have implemented RFID-based EAS solutions in many projects and the number of use cases is growing. For example, based on the data provided by RFID, a store employee can easily check whether a returned item was ever sold or not, because RFID technology allows sales data to be stored at the item level. If the system does not recognize the item as sold, it is most likely a fraudulent return. In addition, for example, services that are currently in high demand, such as Mobile Self-checkout, are easier for the customer to perform and much safer for the retailer, also thanks to RFID, because the alarm goes off if payment has not been made.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we experienced the obvious suffering this situation left in the elderly: lockdown, loneliness, fear, pain, grief… How did your healthcare solutions for our elderly function in this context?

I am glad you asked me this question because of its importance in the times we live in, although unfortunately it is not a business activity of Nedap in Spain. In any case, I would like to point out that Nedap Healthcare helps people to give and receive the best possible care, seeking a balance between well-being, quality and cost effectiveness. We do this by encouraging collaboration, simplifying processes and sharing our values throughout the healthcare sector. One example is the software we developed that minimizes caregiver administrative tasks, allowing more hours to be spent on actual client care. In addition, Nedap Healthcare has developed a customer portal that is widely used during this pandemic period due to the restrictions on nursing home visits. Caregivers, family members and clients frequently use it to stay in touch and informed about the health of their family member in the nursing home.

Sustainability in the retail value chain, utopia or reality?

Absolute reality. Sustainability is now one of the most important purchasing factors and is becoming more and more important in the purchasing decision. Just look at the initiatives that have already been taken by many brands, because the need for sustainable business is a must. At Nedap, we are convinced that the ability to track items from the moment of production contributes greatly to this goal. Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding when it comes to transparency in origin of production, raw materials used and conscious production. Having real-time inventory information throughout the supply chain therefore offers brands distinctive information.

It is already a fact that in the short term our customers can benefit from lower emissions when delivering online orders, thanks to the availability of reliable real-time stocks, allowing them to deliver the order from the store closest to the customer. This is only possible if you really know what is available throughout the distribution network.

If you have mid-term information at the individual item level from the source, you can offer the customer additional value on the product and make it visual thanks to real-time queries on the same item that motivate the customer to buy.

Efficient and sustainable last mile, the challenge of omnichannel profitability

Implementing omnichannel services with RFID enables a marked reduction in delivery footprint because brands can use the store network's inventory to serve online orders in the last mile, but in an efficient manner. Reliable, real-time inventory information prevents delivery errors, rerouting of deliveries due to stock-outs (even from locations far away from the destination) and unnecessary cancellations due to inventory errors.

What is Nedap working on today to integrate the store of the future?

The store of the future is not much different from the store of the past. Let me explain. The customer and their in-store experience was, is and will be based primarily on the fact that if they like a product, they will buy it. If we, as a brand, are not able to guarantee this, then no technological investment you make in the store will be able to generate an excellent shopping experience.

The store of the future will be experiential and customized to each customer. It is about creating a brand experience, motivating the customer to buy and, once that is achieved, the delivery of the product is crucial. Therefore, inventory must be accurate, the product must always be available and that is when the customer's loyalty and trust in the brand will grow.

Original interview here

Sergio Gutiérrez
Business Development Manager
Sergio Gutiérrez