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Fashion retailer Moods of Norway quickly rolled out RFID in their stores

Use Cases | By PR RFID & Wireless IoT Global | 12 May 2016
Fashion retailer Moods of Norway quickly rolled out RFID in their stores Photo: Moods of Norway

More Time for Customers Thanks to RFID

Only few weeks passed between the first consultations with the hardware, software, and integration partners Nedap and Infratek and the beginning of pilot tests in two stores. The simple RFID application – handheld, Ipods, and a cloud connection – quickly convinced Retail Director Hans Petter Hübert. Nine months after the first test, the fast stock taking solution was rolled out to all 14 stores. Speaking with “RFID im Blick Global”, the Retail Director says how easy it was from his perspective to gain benefi ts and reveals what further RFID application the fashion company is currently working on.

Hans Petter Hübert, Retail Director, Moods of Norway, in an interview with “RFID im Blick Global”

RFID is the solution!

Moods of Norway had to face numerous challenges such as wrongful replenishment due to poor inventory accuracy, extremely time-consuming stocktaking via barcode, and the employees’ low trust in the theoretically existing stock, which made RFID technology the logical choice for a solution. In order to implement omnichannel concepts, an exact overview of goods availability was necessary. Manual stocktaking done just two to four times a year is not suffi cient to obtain the information. On top of that, counting and refi lling processes take up valuable time which could be better spent advising customers.

“Employees were occupied with “stupid” tasks instead of customer service and selling. This had to be changed,” says the Retail Director. He is resolutely opposed to the view that RFID use in fashion companies is complex and requires extensive time or fi nancial resources: “Often, the prevailing opinion is that the integration of RFID into in-store process requires a great deal of eff ort. However, having the right people on board, including our store employees, makes an RFID implementation pretty straight forward, at least to support the fast stock taking process which probably is the one with the greatest value.. Our satisfaction with the solution is the best proof of this.”

Hans Petter HübertHans Petter Hübert “Our store associates can now concentrate fully on our customers. Manual stocktaking and dissatisfaction due to bad replenishment control are things of the past. This is defi nitely one of the biggest benefi ts of RFID use!”

98 percent inventory accuracy

The solution for Moods of Norway that was rolled out to all 14 stores consists of a handheld Nedap reader that is connected to iPods via Bluetooth. Using Wi-Fi, the iPods send the captured information to a cloud solution developed by Nedap. Retail coordinators can access all this inventory data location-independently in the cloud via web browser. “We started with two product categories and achieved an inventory accuracy of 98 percent or more within a short time. The substantial sales uplift from this made us roll-out the solution,” says Hans Petter Hübert as he looks back. The following steps are easily described: RFID technology was installed at stores and the employees were trained to operate the solution, which took an average time of just four hours per store, according to Hübert.

Handle online orders in the store

Using the goods inventory data, Moods of Norway can already handle around 25 percent of all online orders directly in their stores. “Due to the solution being so simple, we easily met all major requirements. This allows us to now work without pressure on further developments based on RFID technology. It is an exciting journey to try something new with technology aiming to optimise processes and enhance customer experience.”

Efficient cloud solution

For Hans Petter Hübert, it is self-evident that an easy-to-use RFID solution does not only need to be technically functional but also should not be excessive from an economic perspective. Comprehensive pilot testing of various providers would have exceeded the budget, the retail director is sure: “The hardware use of the Nedap solution being minimal makes it perfectly suited for us. Working with the RFID data in the cloud is easy and efficient – feasible and procedural.” The “!D Cloud” by Nedap generates inventory information and creates a list. Deviations between the ERP system’s data and what was captured by the RFID system are indicated, approved and integrated back to the ERP system. An overview of all articles that are available in the back store but not at the sales room is just a few clicks away.

Closing the circle at the store

In order to be able to make more sustainable use of the RFID functionality, especially with regard to the expanding omnichannel approach, Hans Petter Hübert and his project team are currently working on a real-time picking list in cooperation with technology partners. “This method of system support – to know in real-time which articles are available in the front and back store and what is missing – will be tested over the course of a pilot project in cooperation with Nedap in the fi rst quarter of 2016. Ideally, we could already use this extension in the second quarter of 2016 as we simultaneously reorganise the IT of our e-commerce platform. Together, both elements have the potential to close the last gaps,” Hans Petter Hüber says as he looks ahead.

Experience online shopping offl ine

From Hans Petter Hübbert’s point of view, another option regarding the use of RFID technology is smart fi tting rooms. A “light version” is to be tested at the fl agship store in the fi rst quarter of 2016. “With the smart fi tting room, we are trying to achieve two goals. Firstly, we are curious about the conversion rate: how many of the items which a customer takes into the fi tting room will they buy later? Secondly, we want to enhance the customer experience by enabling direct communication between the customers in the fi tting room and the store personnel. Other features are that the customer will get automated recommendations for clothing ensembles or matching accessories. This is how we bring online shopping methods into the store,” explains Hans Petter Hübert.

Sewn labels in the future?

Moods of Norway consistently relies on source tagging to minimize the eff ort required for manual tagging at the warehouse or the store. In order to be able to realise applications such as RFID-based electronic article surveillance in the future, Hans Petter Hübert regards the use of sewn RFID labels as the next logical step: “We expect to consume around 500,000 RFID tags per year. Hang tags are only suitable as EAS for few product categories. Since we already have tested procedures with Nedap’s hybrid RF/RFID antenna with direction detection functionality, we will be interested in sewn labels in the future. The next steps are currently being planned.” The POS might also be included.

Clothing manufacturers show great interest

Moods of Norway is currently working with around 30 clothing manufacturers in China and Europe. “When we expressed our wish to the manufacturers for sourced-tagged articles at the beginning of the RFID project, we were the fi rst company to do so,” Hans Petter Hübert says, and elaborates: “Now, around two years after our fi rst tests, our producers have received inquiries from other fashion companies. Working with us, they have gained experience in RFID source tagging and will now share their knowledge. The manufacturers also take a more detailed look at their own supply chain to analyse what potential can be exploited along the chain up to the customer by employing RFID applications.

RFID und Fashion auf der RFID tomorrow

Hans Petter Hübert already shared first insights into the use of RFID at Moods of Norway at the RFID Tomorrow 2015 conference. There will also be a report from fashion companies about their current RFID projects at the RFID tomorrow 2016 conference, to be held on the 19th and 20th of September.

Last modified on Thursday, 12 May 2016 12:28
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