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The Visible Value Blog

Case Study: A Retailer's Secret Weapon Increases Inventory Visibility to 95%

Posted by Susan Flake

July 18, 2016 at 8:00 AM


About 40 years ago, a technology came onto the scene that revolutionized the way businesses managed their inventory. Can you guess what that was? It was barcodes. More than four decades later, barcodes still play a critical role in retail operations.[i]

But a new technology is slowly taking over that is helping retailers manage their inventory more efficiently – and drive additional sales: RFID. By implementing RFID, retail leader Lord & Taylor not only achieved a two percent lift in its shoe sales and but also realized significant labor savings. 

The Challenge

When it comes to shoes, you can’t sell what customers can’t see. And that means that restocking shoe displays quickly is vital to your sales. That presented a challenge for Lord & Taylor because – thanks to the line-of-sight requirements of its barcode-based inventory system – restocking shoe displays was a time-consuming, labor-intensive process. In fact, it took two to four associates a full six-to-eight hour shift to do a complete scan of the shoe sales floor.

Lord & Taylor decided to give RFID a try. After a one-day test drive, the retailer was immediately sold. Using the new system allowed a full scale inventory of the entire display floor to be accomplished in just 60 minutes by just one or two associates. With the new RFID system, Lord & Taylor could easily do inventory counts daily instead of weekly, which allowed the retailer to achieve display sample accuracy of 95 percent.

The result: The length of time that a shoe might be missing off the floor is now a matter of hours as opposed to a matter of days. That has resulted in a two percent lift in sales for Lord & Taylor, which now has rolled out the solution to all of its retail stores in the United States.

The good news is that RFID can help you boost sales and reduce labor costs even if you don’t sell shoes. To find out more, visit zebra.com/rfid.

[i] http://www.delivered.dhl.com/en/articles/2015/05/barcodes-the-evolution-continues.html

Topics: RFID, Retail, North America