Retailers And Inventory: The Importance Of Accuracy

Capitalize on new technologies and shift the burden of tagging to the source to increase sales.

From the January 2013 Integrated Solutions For Retailers

By Michael Creedon, Jr., VP of Sales & Operations, Tyco Integrated Security

December 18, 2012 — In an increasingly technological and vast industry, retailers have found a significant need to implement solutions that not only improve their return on investment, but also maximize efficiency to meet overall business goals. Omni-channel shopping has taken over the industry, and consumers are accessing retail inventories from multiple touch points in the purchasing process. Retail leaders invest billions to automate all processes within the corporate, merchandising, supply chain, and store areas, while spending even more on specialized solutions that aim to ensure a cohesive strategy to retain loyal customers. Despite all the investments and processes, inventory accuracy remains an industrywide problem, putting the success of these solutions in danger.

According to the RFID Research Center at the University of Arkansas, the current inventory accuracy rate for apparel stores in the U.S. is only 65%. One way for a retailer to improve the accuracy of its inventory is by tagging items right at the source. Tagging recirculation, a cost- and time-effective way to tag store merchandise with electronic anti-theft sensors before distribution, seamlessly provides merchandise-ready solutions at the point of manufacturing. This way, retailers ensure tag compliance and application, which, in turn, improves anti-theft solutions like EAS. Once the tags are used, the retailer then ships them to a centrally located automated recirculation center, where the tags are counted and certified for reuse.

Dual Technology Tagging: 2 Birds, 1 Stone

Another cost-efficient solution that has been implemented successfully by several retailers is a dual technology tag. Dual technology tags are acousto-magnetic (AM) EAS and RFID enabled, which delivers both the security of an AM anti-theft solution and the inventory visibility of electronic product code (EPC)-based RFID. EAS use ranks high among solutions retailers for combatting losses from theft, and RFID is a beneficial and highly used inventory intelligence solution. Since visibility is a key step to ensuring inventory accuracy, and retailers are focused on efficient solutions, the dual technology tag provides the best of both worlds.

By implementing the AM/RFID dualtechnology tag in combination with source tagging, retailers have been able to significantly improve their in-stock position to successfully drive increased sales and improve gross margins. The program is becoming central to many retailers’ omnichannel strategies, where shoppers order merchandise online or via a mobile device, and pick it up in store. Improved inventory accuracy enables successful implementation of this omni-channel selling, so shoppers may interact with retailers any way and any time they wish.

Tailor Offerings To The Individual Customer’s Needs

Having an accurate read on which products are available to sell is critical to attaining customer satisfaction, especially when customers are ordering products from multiple touch points. By working with their solutions provider, retailers can ensure they not only have the right solutions, but also that they are using them in a way that maximizes their investment. By designing an efficient and tailored security and retail solution package, solutions providers can help retailers focus on what’s most important: making their customers happy and increasing profitability.

Filed under Inventory IntelligenceKeywords inventory accuracy

Published on 1/17/2013 Permalink

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