Retail Intelligence Blog

August 8th, 2017

SML Sponsors RAIN RFID Alliance for the Retail Market

SML recently sponsored the global RAIN RFID Alliance meeting at the Amazon One facility in Seattle, Washington.  It was a great meeting in support of RAIN RFID, which fosters the advancement of UHF RFID technologies to help businesses and consumers identify, locate and authenticate items in our everyday world.

Florence Lo, RFID Sales Operations Manager at SML Group, led the RAIN Retail workgroup session and discussed the benefits and recent successes of RAIN technology in retail.  Florence also shared a presentation entitled “Simplifying RFID ROI for Retail Industry,” which is available for viewing online. The presentation covers the key components of a successful RAIN Retail application, including:

  • Focus on Inventory Accuracy
  • ROI Analysis
  • Technology / Business Process Selection
  • Tagging Strategy (DC, Source, etc.)
  • Application Scalability / Enterprise Integration Strategy
  • Project Team Structure

As a member of this RFID industry alliance, SML works together with colleagues to help advance RAIN RFID technology to benefit the retail industry. SML will continue to contribute their expertise to the RAIN Alliance and expand on applications of RFID technology in the retail industry.

July 19th, 2017

Retail Leads the Pack in RFID Adoption

For many industries, the business value of RFID technology was first demonstrated in the supply chain. The capability to accurately see your inventory levels across your entire supply chain, has driven automated inventory decision-making, reduced costs and better customer service.

In fact, some industries have some evidence of mandating the use of RFID for verifiable tracking of assets, such as tracing the supply of pharmaceuticals, tracking luggage or compliance with FDA unique device identifiers for medical devices. In these industries, adoption is only happening where mandates are in place and/or only in small slices of the market.

Fortunately, due to high velocity and relatively high value of goods, the benefits that RFID delivers to the retail market allow the technology to pay for itself and then some. RFID in the supply chain is only the beginning. RFID delivers significant retail business value in the store and as part of the omnichannel experience. A growing percentage of apparel and footwear retailers and brand owners have fully embraced RFID technology for a variety of use cases; arguably, more than any other industry. And for good reason… Or rather, a lot of good reasons.

Retail was the first market to adopt barcode technology, which revolutionized inventory management and the point of sale (POS) transaction with greater speed and convenience. RFID technology logically follows as the next evolutionary step, without requiring line of sight to read RFID labels, delivering greater speed and functionality with familiar ease of use. Moreover, the ability to handle complex sku counts for retail product mixes makes RFID tailor-made for retail, particularly in the apparel market where products are sorted by category, style, color, size, etc.

The ability to handle complex datasets allows RFID to stand apart from less sophisticated technologies like barcodes. Customer service is a crucial differentiator in the competitive retail environment, and today’s consumers have become more discerning and demanding. The stakes could not be higher to prevent out-of-stocks and avoid missed sales opportunities. Item-level RFID for apparel inventory management, with the resultant  98% inventory accuracy, is fundamental to reducing stockouts and increasing sales, as well as speeding fulfillment of online orders and in-store pickups of omnichannel purchases. In fact, case studies have shown that RFID can achieve in-store inventory accuracy greater than 98 percent.

Likewise, the accurate and frequent inventory management capability of RFID offers measurable results in retail, enabling reduced inventory costs, more efficient and effective use of sales staff, and significant return on investment. Complete visibility into itemized inventory also opens-up a new world of data and analytics, helping retailers make sure they have what customer want now and better predict what the customer will want next month or next year.

When you consider the capability to increase sales, improve profit margins, reduce costs and improve competitive advantage, it’s not surprising that the retail market has embraced RFID in a very real way. The real question is why are other industries slow to fully adopt RFID?


July 10th, 2017

Physical Goes Digital in Retail 3.0

As technologRetail 3.0y continues to advance rapidly, retailers have a lot of high-tech tools at their disposal — from mobile apps and social media marketing, to virtual reality and fraud detection tools. But without easy access to accurate data, all the technology in the world is useless; after all, garbage in equals garbage out. That’s why perhaps the most revolutionary technology in retail today is item-level RFID, delivering the capability to manage inventory in real-time throughout the retail supply chain with accuracy up to 98 percent or higher. (more…)

June 1st, 2017

Reverse Logistics for Faster, Simpler Returns

Reverse Logistics | SML RFIDIn the retail world, product returns are an unfortunate fact of life. The need to accommodate returns quickly and unconditionally is a key aspect of good customer service, whether you are selling online or in the store. Yet the overall costs incurred in returning and exchanging merchandise can take a big bite out of your profits.

In order to process returns faster and more cost-efficiently, consider the principal of reverse engineering… The use of RFID technology has become accepted as a common tool to track inventory throughout the retail supply chain, from the source to the store. But merchandise flows in more than one direction — RFID also helps reduce the time and money spent processing returns.


April 20th, 2017

SML Presenting at RFID Journal LIVE! 2017

This year’s RFID Journal LIVE! is right around the corner, and we’re looking forward to a flurry of activity at the Phoenix Convention Center, May 9-11. In addition to being a Signature Sponsor of the exhibition, SML will participate in two informative speaking sessions during the conference:

Retail and Apparel Panel

(May 10th, 9:15AM)

Many retail and apparel companies were early adopters of RFID, pioneering the technology in their stores and supply chains. Our own Dean Frew, CTO and Senior VP of SML’s RFID Solutions, will moderate a panel of retailers/ brand owners to share key insights from the successful use of RFID in retail. In this general session, panelists Kevin O’Dare, Lead Business Partner of Target, and Richard Haig, CIO/CTO for Herman Kay Co., will join Dean to address how they are using RFID to achieve operational benefits, as well as the lessons they learned from their deployments.

For more, visit

Solution-Provider Session: RFID Source-Tagging Simplified

(May 10th, 11:50AM)

Gary Moskovciak, Senior Vice President of SML USA, is responsible for SML’s commercial and operational business units in the Americas. In this session, Gary will outline how to approach RFID tagging from a source-tagging perspective, from design through execution. Using real-world examples from SML’s deployments for some of the largest retailers worldwide, he will provide helpful insight into how to get to a cost-neutral tag solution, as well as global deployments that help drive key benefits to retailers, brand owners and factories.

Visit for more.

And don’t forget to visit SML in Booth #504. We look forward to seeing you at RFID Journal LIVE!

March 29th, 2017

Dean Frew Presented “Learn What Differentiates Successful Retail RFID Deployments” Webinar

Webinar - Learn What Differentiates Successful Retail RFID Deployments RFID Journal

Webinar – Learn What Differentiates Successful Retail RFID Deployments RFID Journal

Review webinar presentation or video:

A growing number of successful public case studies show how RFID technology from SML is generating great returns for retailers around the Globe. SML partnered with RFID Journal to record this webinar to discuss these examples and the future of RFID in retail.


March 22nd, 2017

Reduce Shrink with RFID Retail Inventory Management

Retail Inventory ManagementRetail professionals are all too familiar with the concept of shrink. “Shrink” refers to the loss of physical inventory, usually as a result of theft and bad inventory information. While bad information is largely resolved by utilizing RFID, we want to focus today’s discussion on shrink due to theft. Shoplifting is a major cause of inventory shrinkage, but the sadder fact is that a surprising amount of theft happens internally. Known as “internal shrink,” theft by vendors and employees can have a considerably negative impact on retail businesses.

What some retailers may not know, however, is the full extent of financial consequences that shrink can cause. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2016 National Retail Security Survey, retail shrink averaged 1.38 percent of retail sales in the United States in 2015, equating to about $45.2 billion. Furthermore, 47 percent of surveyed retailers said that they experienced a rise in inventory shrinkage in 2015. Retailers cited shoplifting as the biggest cause of shrink, with the average shoplifting incident creating a loss of about $377. (more…)

March 7th, 2017

SML Updates Clarity™ 3.6 Software for Best Omnichannel Replenishment in Retail

Clarity™ 3.6The latest Clarity™ retail inventory management software revision was developed in response to requests from the market where retailers are having trouble responding to orders placed online and wanting to be picked up in their stores. With inventory accuracy commonly below 70%, retailers are struggling to execute without significant risk of disappointing customers.

In most of today’s retail operations, if a customer places an order online, retailers require a minimum inventory over stock position of five for each item to confirm for customers to pick up from the store. This is because retailers simply aren’t confident in their inventory accuracy.

Once the order is placed, it’s up to an associate to find the item on the sales floor. “The ‘item not found’ rate is high,” senior vice president of supply chain transformation for Target, Karl Bracken, mentioned at the Internet Retailer 2016 Conference & Exhibition in Chicago. “Some stores had to cancel up to 50% of online orders because they couldn’t find a product in the store.” (more…)

February 3rd, 2017

RFID is Essential for an Omnichannel Deployment

omnichannel deploymentFor the past few years, omnichannel has been repeatedly referred to as the future of retail. More and more retailers are adopting omnichannel strategies to keep their customers happy and encourage sales using the ever-increasing shopping methods currently available to consumers. However, without RFID technology as part of these strategies to vastly improve inventory accuracy, retailers who try to implement omnichannel could find that their strategy is ineffective or even counterproductive. (more…)