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Sports Apparel Brand Lulemon Atheltica deploys RFID

Use Cases | By PR RFID & Wireless IoT Global | 31 March 2016
„One Guest Experience“ dank RFID „One Guest Experience“ dank RFID Photo: Lululemon Athletica

Rollout completed in Northern American stores– is global use possible?

The customer is the centre of attention – this is how it should always be in the retail sector. However, retail companies follow different approaches to achieve this goal. The Canadian sportswear company Lululemon Athletica makes use of RFID to optimise the shopping experience of their customers. In a first step, the technology is used to assure complete control over the inventory. The North American rollout which was finished by the end of 2015 is a part of the global business perspective of Lululemon. This perspective regards technology use as a supportive measure to achieve the best possible customer satisfaction in store or at any time in the web shop. Now, at the start of 2016, what is the status of the RFID, and what steps are planned next?

“RFID im Blick” asked Lululemon Athletica

A powerful tool

Lululemon sees RFID as a powerful new tool. RFID helps to optimise the shopping experience of all the customers in stores or in the web shop, as a spokesperson at Lululemon reports. Across all channels, the focus lies on inventory data – no matter whether the stock is assigned to the stores or to the web shop. In addition to RFID-based inventory control, the management at Lululemon Athletica also seeks to achieve further goals through the use of technology. Lululemon Athletica wants to find out more about the shopping behaviour of their customers by increasing transparency in the stores regarding what items are tried on, and what is bought. The data obtained from these readings will be used to consistently optimise the product range and the article presentation. As described by a spokesperson at Lululemon, Lululemon Athletica remains interested in how RFID will support the processes in future.

Pilot started in 2013

Approximately two years ago, Lululemon Atheltica initiated a twostage RFID pilot. At the beginning, the sportswear producer tested the technology in 13 of its North American stores. By the end of 2015, the extension of the pilot into the distribution centres which supply the 13 stores was also completed. During the testing stage, the articles were tagged with RFID transponders at the distribution centres. The rollout into all stores in North America will be completed by the end of the financial year. Now, the next step will be to test the RFID application in the fitting room. This will exploit more potential in order to enhance the shopping experience. The rollout of the technology into all of Lululemons Athletica’s 350 stores around the globe is now conceivable, but as of yet, in January 2016, there are no concrete plans for this.

Source tagging completed in 2015

In order to make use of the full capability of RFID technology, Lululemon Athletica also worked on the implementation of source tagging in parallel to the technology rollout across the stores. As a spokesperson at Lululemon reports, this project could also be completed during 2015. Tagging all the articles directly during the manufacturing helps to establish 100 percent accuracy control. Based on entirely correctly inventory data, applications such as the fulfilment of online orders directly from the stores are possible.

Online fulfilment from the stores

For Lululemon Athletica, one of the success factors of RFID use is the creation of a database for implementation of the multichannel approach that goes across traditional sales channels. If, for example, an article in a specific size and colour is not in stock in the store, this item can be directly ordered from in store and delivered to the customer’s home. This is how RFID helps to connect offline shopping with online shopping. According to the international communications manager at Lululemon Athletica, the use of online shopping directly in stores now accounts for almost 10 percent of the total e-commerce turnover.

“One guest experience”

The spokesperson says that at Lululemon Athletica, RFID technology is not seen as just one novelty among others, but rather as an innovation. The key difference lies in the fact that innovations such as RFID use generate the sustainability that is required to improve customer relations. In practice, the approach which Lululemon Athletica describes as a “one guest experience” means that sales personnel have more time for the customers – both offline and online.

Last modified on Thursday, 12 May 2016 12:38
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