In The News

February 13th, 2018

How Can Retailers Overcome the Omnichannel Challenges from 2016?

Originally published in Jewellery Focus Magazine

Consumers’ needs have intensified in the past decade. Previously, having an online store to accompany your physical shop was seen as a luxury, now it is essential and online shopping has taken the next step to meet customer demand. Consumers want the ability to shop seamlessly across multiple devices anytime anywhere. Whatsmore, they want more than the promise of next day delivery and to have the opportunity to order online and pick up in store the very same day.

As the customers ask for more, retailers are struggling to keep up and failing to invest in the appropriate technologies that will allow for online visibility of inventory, pickup in store options and seamless omnichannel experiences.

Christmas was the season for omnichannel

The brands that have implemented an effective omnichannel strategy have reaped the rewards. Throughout the 2016 Christmas period retailers such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s all reported an increase in profit over the festive season; with many seeing an increase in customers using their click and collect services.

For example, John Lewis reported a continued shift to mobile and multichannel purchases. The retailer reports that 52% of all online purchases were picked up in store with a further 18% choosing to collect from sister supermarket Waitrose. Additionally, multi-brand online retailer, Shop Direct announced that more than a quarter of 6.8m online orders were picked up from collection points in the UK.

With more retailers reporting their performances in the run up to Christmas, the evidence is becoming clear that those who offer omnichannel experiences have an edge over the competition. Whilst we can expect more brands to adopt similar strategies to maximize on peak shopping times, many retailers have long struggled with implementing a cohesive and efficient omnichannel process due to a lack of confidence in stock and a lack of understanding of their customers’ needs.

So how can retailers ensure that they leave their omnichannel challenges of 2016 a thing of the past and embrace omnichannel sales?

Embracing new processes to leave inaccuracies in the past

Essentially omnichannel is all about delivering items across whichever channels the customer prefers and as a result better connecting retailers and brands with their consumers to build loyalty. Most retailers who have fully embraced omnichannel understand that data and understanding of inventory accuracy is vital for efficiency and effectiveness. Without up-to-date and correct information, omnichannel is simply an ill-conceived promise they won’t be able to deliver on.

Some retailers are still using a 5:1 rule for fulfilling omnichannel orders which, understandably, can leave customers disappointed when they discover the item they ordered online isn’t available to pick up from the store that day. This can be due to the store conducting manual stock takes, which can be significantly more time consuming and inaccurate. In order to be truly omnichannel, retailers need the confidence in their stock accuracy.

The brands that have seen the most success with their omnichannel experiences are those that have welcomed a new mindset to the technologies that are in place. Many retailers are hesitant, for whatever reason, to move to newer innovations that can simplify and better processes, such as taking accurate stock counts. However, those that continue to hesitate could find themselves left behind in the race to meet consumer demands.

Technologies such as RFID have addressed the challenges of inventory management with the collection of more accurate and timely inventory data which retailers can use to make higher impact decisions to match customer demand. Furthermore, retailers are able to use the technology to gain better understanding of their customers’ behavior which enables a smoother omnichannel execution.

Delivering a seamless omnichannel experience in 2017

Whilst there are already a number of companies effectively delivering omnichannel shopping to their customers, there are still many who are struggling. As the 2016 holiday season proved, a demand for an omnichannel experience is growing and without a smooth process in place, those retailers could find they are losing significant profits and long-term customer loyalty.

Argos was one of the first retailers that pioneered the click and collect movement in the UK and it now reports that over £1bn of its sales are made through mobile. As the demand for omnichannel has increased, retailers need to shift their focus on their own strategies to ensure they are keeping up with their customers’ needs in 2017.

February 9th, 2018

How Apparel E-tailers Can Embrace In-Store Pickup

We can pretty much stipulate that buy-online-pickup-in-store is on the list of buzz-worthy ongoing retail trends.

It was on the lips of many at last month’s NRF Big Show. Consumers are all in, with half of consumers telling pollsters they’ve used in-store pickup. And retailers are either knee-deep in the offering or are working hurriedly to build an effective system.

And it’s only a matter of time before we all figure out what the short-hand for the feature is — BOPUS, BOPIS, click-and-collect O2O (online-to-offline), etc.

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February 1st, 2018

Update from NRF’s Big Show

While attending the National Retail Federation’s Big Show 2018 this month, I had a chance to visit some of the radio frequency identification companies that were exhibiting at the event. Here are some highlights.

SML Group: The branding, technology and solutions company released a small new ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID inlay that, according to the company, delivers 30 percent greater performance than other tags of its size. The high-performance tag is intended to make the RFID tagging of apparel easier by requiring less space on hang tickets, or it can be sewn into care labels. The GB4U8 inlay measures 42 millimeters by 16 millimeters (1.7 inches by 0.6 inch). It leverages NXP Semiconductors’ UCODE 8 chip, along with SML’s own antenna design, to accomplish high read sensitivity and improved read rates. SML also announced plans to expand its RFID solutions into other industries besides retail.

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January 22nd, 2018

How can retailers overcome the omnichannel challenges?

Consumers’ demands on retailers have intensified in the past decade. Previously, having an online store to accompany your physical shop was seen as a luxury, now it is essential and online shopping has taken the next step to meet customer demand.

Consumers want the ability to shop seamlessly across multiple devices anytime anywhere. Whatsmore, they want more than the promise of next day delivery and to have the opportunity to order online and pick up in store the very same day.

As the customers ask for more, retailers are struggling to keep up and falling behind in investment in the appropriate technologies that will allow for complete visibility of inventory, to enable pickup in store options and effective omnichannel experiences.

Read More...

January 16th, 2018

SML Group unveils small form factor retail RFID inlays powered by NXP’s UCODE 8 chip

Retail RFID solutions provider SML Group introduced what it describes as the first production ready small form factor RFID inlay for the retail industry using the super high sensitive RFID chip, UCODE 8, from NXP.

The GB4U8 RFID inlay, is fully compliant with GS1 EPC/RFID Gen2v2 standard, supports RAIN RFID with global UHF frequencies and meets the following Auburn University RFID Retailer Performance Specifications: Spec A, B, C, D, M, G, Q, F, and Spec N. GB4U8 RFID inlay, measuring only 42x16mm, is the first small format inlay in the RFID history to pass all active categories including F and N, making it ideal for use by omnichannel retailers in store and supply chain deployments around the world.

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January 15th, 2018

SML introduces small form factor retail RFID inlay

RFID specialist SML Group has introduced the first production-ready small form factor RFID inlay for the retail industry using the super high sensitive RFID chip, Ucode 8, from NXP.

The GB4U8 RFID inlay is fully compliant with the GS1 EPC/RFID Gen2v2 standard, supports RAIN RFID with global UHF frequencies, and meets the following Auburn University RFID Retailer Performance Specifications: Spec A, B, C, D, M, G, Q, F, and Spec N.

GB4U8 RFID inlay, measuring only 42 x 16mm, is the first small format inlay in the RFID history to pass all active categories including F and N, making it ideal for use by omnichannel retailers in store and supply chain deployments around the world, according to SML.

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January 15th, 2018

SML Group Unveils Breakthrough Small Form Factor Retail RFID Inlays Powered by NXP’s UCODE 8 Chip

Today, leading retail RFID solutions provider SML Group introduced the first production ready small form factor RFID inlay for the retail industry using the super high sensitive RFID chip, UCODE 8, from NXP. The GB4U8 RFID inlay, is fully compliant with GS1 EPC/RFID Gen2v2 standard, supports RAIN RFID with global UHF frequencies and meets the following Auburn University RFID Retailer Performance Specifications: Spec A, B, C, D, M, G, Q, F, and Spec N.  GB4U8 RFID inlay, measuring only 42x16mm, is the first small format inlay in the RFID history to pass all active categories including F and N, making it ideal for use by omnichannel retailers in store and supply chain deployments around the world.

Read More...

January 15th, 2018

Small RFID Tag from SML Group Offers 30 Percent Sensitivity Boost

Branding, technology and solutions company SML Group has released a small new ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID inlay that, according to the company, offers 30 percent greater performance than other tags of its size. The high-performance tag is intended to make the RFID tagging of apparel easier by requiring less space on hang tickets, or it can be sewn into care labels. According to the company, it supports the tagging of very small items, or with discrete labels, within dense environments.

The GB4U8 inlay measures 42 millimeters by 16 millimeters (1.7 inches by 0.6 inch). It leverages NXP Semiconductors’ UCODE 8 chip, along with SML’s own antenna design, to accomplish high read sensitivity and improved read rates (see NXP to Release More Sensitive UHF Chip With New Functionality).

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January 11th, 2018

SML enters new RFID markets

Originally published on Labels & Labeling

SML, a developer of RFID tags has moved into six tangential markets that can benefit from item-level RFID technology.

Sharing many of the same business case elements and omnichannel models that are driving adoption in the apparel and footwear segments, SML has identified the following market segments to pursue item-level inventory management: mobile phones and accessories; cosmetics and fragrance; eyewear; wine and spirits; food; and retail pharma.

‘These segments share the same major challenges and resultant pain points with assortment inventory accuracy that has been found inside the apparel and footwear segment,’ said Dean Frew, chief technology officer and senior vice president of RFID solutions, SML Group. ‘Our market analysis shows that all of these segments have significant issues with inventory accuracy, and when you combine state-of-the-art RFID tag technology with best in class item-level inventory management functionality, unprecedented results are easily available.’

SML uses unique RFID tagging designed to address traditionally tough categories. Case studies demonstrate that SML’s Clarity product greatly improves inventory accuracy, with retailers experiencing greater than 98 percent accuracy. Clarity has been designed to enable full operational control and new inventory management processes based on years of in-store experience.

November 2nd, 2017

How RFID Can Reboot Your Retail Operation This Holiday Season

With every product from toilet paper to diamond rings available online, brick and mortarretailers are struggling to keep customer attention. Physical stores are closing their doorsat an alarming pace. JC Penney is poised to close up to 140 stores this year, and Moody’s Investors Service report warns that 18 other big retailers are at risk.  A new era in retailing is needed.

To retain ever-demanding shoppers who have come to expect same-day delivery, dazzling customer service, and pinpoint targeted marketing that seeks to anticipate what the customer will want next, traditional stores need to step up their game. Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) can help traditional retailers make it happen.

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