Retail Intelligence Blog

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…)

December 16th, 2016

Introducing the GB12R6 RFID Inlay

GB12R6 RFID inlaySML RFID is proud to announce an addition to our extensive selection of top-of-line RFID inlays for retail applications. The new GB12R6 RFID inlay is specially designed for use on items that have presented challenges when implementing RFID technology in the past. Such items include:

  • Books
  • Furniture
  • Glass
  • Wood
  • Plastic
  • Other items made of high-dielectric materials

The GB12R6 is very thin, which allows retailers to easily attach to items to track previously hard-to-tag items throughout their entire supply chain. This new inlay is just the latest entry in our expanding line of RFID tags that make it possible to track, manage and gather data on nearly any element of a retailer’s inventory, including pallets, cases, apparel, accessories, cosmetics, luggage and much more. (more…)

November 3rd, 2016

Top RFID Retail Questions from SML RFID Pop Ups

SML RFID launched two RFID Retail Pop Up store demonstrations over the last several weeks in New York and London to satisfy the retail industry’s growing appetite for information, guidance and production. We had visits from brand owners that were just beginning to look into RFID, as well as seasoned retailers that had been using RFID for years.

The SML RFID Pop Up showcased how to implement RFID at the factory, in the distribution center and at the retail store. Prospects saw demonstrations of the latest in RFID retail technology from SML, NXP and Zebra implemented in some of the largest global retailers. SML also displayed its portfolio of RFID inlays, RFID tags and printing processes. Watch the video of our latest London Store: (more…)

November 2nd, 2016

Choosing the Right RFID Inlays for Retail

choosing the right RFID inlaysThe adoption of RFID technology in retail is growing at a rapid pace. According to the IDTechEx 2016 forecast, the number of tags used in 2017 is expected to reach more than 5 billion. By the end of 2016, SML alone will be responsible for encoding and delivering over one billion RFID tags.

The reasons for this massive adoption are clear: retail has more to gain from RFID technology than just about any other industry. Global retail brands like American Apparel, Macy’s, Marks & Spencer, Decathlon and Tesco have already publicly stated the benefits of their RFID deployments: increased inventory accuracy, improved customer service, reduced shrink, sales lifts and more. These benefits are causing many other retailers to look into implementing RFID to get similar competitive advantages.

However, retailers new to RFID understandably have many questions, and one of the most common involves choosing the right RFID inlays. With so many different tags and manufacturers to choose from, how can you know which are best for your application? Luckily, SML’s vast experience with real-world retail deployments has allowed us to determine some of the most important factors when choosing the right RFID inlays for any retail operation. They are: (more…)

October 19th, 2016

Watch: RFID in Retail Webinar with Dean Frew

retail webinarDean Frew, Sr. VP for RFID Solutions & Chief Technology Officer of SML RFID, was recently featured in a webinar panel discussing how RFID technology is providing unprecedented ROI for retailers. In the webinar, Dean joins Andy Robson from Holderness Consulting and Susan Nichols from Apparel Magazine to describe how RFID is ushering in Retail 3.0.

The retail webinar contains useful information for retailers at any level, whether they’ve already implemented an RFID inventory management system or are just beginning to think about it. The insights discussed in the presentation come from SML’s real-world deployments in some of the largest retail chains in the world. RFID is now proven to bring massive benefits in inventory accuracy, out-of-stock reduction, omnichannel execution and much more – but it’s also providing retailers with ROI in new and unexpected ways, which are also discussed in the webinar. (more…)

October 13th, 2016

No More Bulky RFID Tags in Retail

small rfid tagsHistorically speaking, one of the roadblocks that retailers have run into when considering adopting an RFID inventory management system involves the size and form factor of the RFID tags themselves. Despite the numerous benefits that retailers can gain after implementing RFID, including unprecedented inventory accuracy, reduced out-of-stocks, shrink reduction, sales increases and much more, RFID systems have sometimes been rejected by retailers for aesthetic reasons. Simply put, RFID tags have been too bulky for some retailers to implement them in an aesthetically pleasing and unobtrusive way. Clothing and accessory designers spend huge amounts of time and money creating tags, labels and packaging that optimally represent and enhance a company’s branding, and the last thing they want is to negate their hard work or be limited in their design by bulky, unflattering RFID tags.

Luckily for apparel designers, however, RFID tags now have various forms while performance has also advanced. RFID chip and tag developers are now creating technologies that are small and discrete enough to be implemented in inconspicuous ways that do not interfere with branding or tarnish the appeal of a product. These advancements have also allowed retailers to track previously difficult-to-tag items such as jewelry and perfumes, as well as enabling longer read ranges. (more…)

September 22nd, 2016

The Importance of an RFID Pilot in Retail Applications

rfid pilotToday a growing number of brand owners and retailers are well aware of the proven benefits of implementing a radio frequency identification (RFID) system in retail: increased inventory accuracy, supply chain visibility, increased sales by reducing out-of-stocks, reduced shrink, omnichannel enablement and more. Before in-store deployment begins, however, it’s important to pilot an RFID system to get a clear picture of how exactly it will benefit you, as well as work through the processes so that you can get the most out of it with your unique retail environment. An RFID pilot may also reveal unexpected benefits that you hadn’t considered in the first place.

RFID providers that do not pilot solutions prior to deployment are preventing their customers from utilizing the system to its full potential. With the right piloting, an RFID system can be deployed seamlessly and will more quickly begin to provide a great ROI. (more…)