In the world of fashion, trends are moving at digital speed, while consumers are smarter, more demanding and discerning than ever.
By Nancy Chisholm, President, Tyco Retail Solutions
To keep pace, fashion retailers are carefully evaluating their in-store environments for opportunities to improve operations and the customer experience. RFID technology is proving a valuable way for fashion retailers to accomplish these goals. With the power to maximize an apparel retailer’s store performance, RFID-enabled solutions can provide a seamless shopping event and ultimately drive profitability.
RFID is no longer just for big box stores and basic replenishable goods. RFID technology is now the “new black” for fashion retailers around the globe.
This year alone, retail style leaders such as Zara and Macy’s are advocating the value of RFID in managing quickly changing fashion inventories. In fact, Pablo Isla, President of Inditex, parent company of Zara and one of the world’s largest fashion groups, was quoted as saying, “It (RFID) gives us great visibility, knowing exactly where each garment is located…It really changes how we operate our stores.”
Macy’s was one of the first retailers to publicly recognize tangible results from deploying RFID technology to enhance the customer experience, drive sales and increase efficiencies. In recent omnichannel pilots in fashion categories, Macy’s documented RFID’s ability to significantly improve sales, gross margins and markdowns by better leveraging accurate and real-time inventory counts. Because of these results Macy’s will expand RFID- based inventory visibility into more fashion categories in 2015.
RFID empowers fashion retailers to execute at the style, color, size and SKU level, ensuring the right items are in the right place at the right time — which is the foundation to retail excellence. With accurate color/size SKU-level visibility, merchants can now develop precise merchandise plans and tailor product assortments based on shopper demographics and store location. Results of these efforts are seen in sustained profit margins, quick merchandise sell through on fashion items that typically have a six to eight week window at full price, and limited markdowns. Retailers can make their inventory more productive, and position it where and when customers want it, engaging shoppers in a highly personal and profitable way.
RFID-enabled solutions can provide a seamless shopping event and ultimately drive profitability.
—Nancy Chisholm, Tyco Retail Solutions
In addition, given the importance of omnichannel retailing, RFID-based inventory visibility enables apparel retailers to meet their customers’ needs however they choose to shop. A retailer’s full assortment of fashion styles can now be presented online for purchase, and in- store inventory can be used to fulfill online and mobile orders, and to enable store pick-up or same-day delivery. With RFID- enabled accuracy, even the most popular, trendiest fashions can be made available for multichannel purchase with retailer confidence and no need for safety stock, driving full price sales and customer satisfaction.
Given the growing complexity of retailing, RFID has become the right fit for fashion. By offering RFID enabled accurate inventory visibility into styles, colors and sizes, RFID technology can empower fashion apparel retailers to deliver a positive shopping experience and gain continued loyalty.
Those fashion retailers not incorporating RFID inventory visibility as an integral part of their strategic store technology platform will increasingly struggle to keep up with their fast moving, on-trend customers and competitors.