In addition to the applications related to logistics and distribution, RFID is an excellent opportunity for shop owners because it can improve work dynamics, serve as an anti shoplifting system, and improve customers’ shopping experience, i.e. the way consumers interact with the products they want to buy.
To this end, based on our experience in our warehouses, we at l&tc have developed a project specific for retailers.
The idea to apply RFID to shops stems from our management, who, after implementing this technology in our warehouses, understood the importance of extending it to all operators in the supply chain to take a leap forwards in terms of competitiveness and exploit all its advantages.
This way, the focus shifted to the last link of the distribution chain, i.e. shops.
Providing your shop with the RFID technology means ensuring benefits for all the players involved in the creation, distribution, and sale of the end products.
In 2011, after a feasibility study, our IT experts, in collaboration with a spin-off of the University of Siena, started to work on a project specific for outlets, which has now become applicable.
In 2013, we completed the start-up stage and presented the project to important retail companies that were fascinated by the potential offered.
The main goal is to manage all the stages of a product’s life cycle in the shop (from when it arrives to when it leaves the shop). And today, we can do just that!
To be sure that everything works we need to provide outlets with RFID hardware and software components.
A PC connected to a data server from which to manage the software
An RFID PDA
An access point that allows the wireless connection
between the PDA and the PC
A reader at the entrance
A reader on the cash desk
A reader at the exit
A tag for every single product
A management program devised by our technicians.
With these components, we can act inside the shop on 3 levels:
Acquire data of incoming goods
Monitor activities inside the shop
Monitor sales and outgoing checks
The advantages of RFID compared to an ordinary barcode are exponential:
ACQUISITION OF INCOMING GOODS
During this stage, it is important to check that the right shipment was received and enter every piece in the management software of the shop controlled by the RFID system.The operator who receives the shipment must check its correctness passing the PDA around the surface of the packages. This way, it is quick and easy to check (without opening the package) that the number and quality of the pieces received conforms with that expected (and declared in the transport document) while entering each piece in the shop’s management software, thereby saving time.
Activities inside the shop
In outlets equipped with our RFID system, you can carry out the following activities:
Inventory operations can be carried out in two ways:
1) The operator goes around the shop holding the PDA to read the actual stock in every area where the products are displayed. The readout can be performed by simply bringing the PDA at distance of at least 1 metre from each garment in the shop.
2) The second option involves the strategic installation of antennas (connected to the readers) on the shelves where the products are displayed. This option is clearly faster for acquiring inventory data, because it doesn’t require an operator to move around the shop. But it does need antennas located conveniently to cover every single area.
After acquiring the data of all the goods in the shop, the inventory will be automatically updated based on the acquisition of incoming and outgoing goods (see sales and outgoing checks).
B) Monitoring of movements inside the shop
Our RFID project allows you to monitor all the movements of every single product inside the shop.
To obtain these data, you need to implement a shelf antenna system that covers the entire sales area of the shop, and install reading antennas even inside the fitting rooms.
By cross-referencing these readout data, we can monitor and assess (through a statistics systems) the various movements of each piece inside the shop. For example, you can see how many times a product has been picked from the shelf, how many times it was tried on, and its purchase rate compared to the number of times it was tried on.
SALES AND OUTGOING CHECKS
The third operation enabled by our RFID system is monitoring the outgoing products with an anti-shoplifting system.
These operations require two types of readers:
the first is an antenna to be installed at the cash desk
the second is a “gate/barrier” at the exit