In 2016, we made the decision to roll-out radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags in stores across the UK. The positive results came almost immediately, in the form of improved sales and enhanced customer experiences.
Along with nine other retailers, we decided to share our experience of RFID with professor Adrian Beck from the University of Leicester. Beck conducted interviews and analysed performance data for his recently-published study on the impact of RFID in retailing, cited in an Internet Retailing article.
The study is supported by supply chain and data standards firm GS1 UK, in partnership with the ECR Community Shrinkage & On-Shelf Availability (OSA) Group. It’s considered to be the most thorough of its kind, with other respondents including Tesco, Decathlon and Marks & Spencer.
All 10 companies using RFID cited a positive return on their investment. The boost in sales ranged from 1.5% and 5.5% among all brands, resulting in increases of between €1.4bn and €5.2bn.
Every retailer polled said that inventory accuracy improved by over a half, to reach between 93% and 99% accuracy. Six of the retailers revealed that RFID has enabled them to cut their total stockholdings by 2%-13%, while the remaining four chose not to disclose this information.
Group chairman of the ECR Community Shrinkage and OSA Group, John Fonteijn, commented that RFID in retail had previously failed to live up to its expectations. However, this study shows that “in the right environment, and by adopting a realistic and measured approach to its use, RFID now offers an attractive financial proposition to those retailers willing to invest.”
Gary Lynch, GS1 UK’s chief executive, added that the study shows both the benefits and challenges for retailers adopting RFID technology. “The learnings covered in this report provide an indispensable guide for any retailer interested in deploying the technology,” he concluded.
RFID is just one piece of the digital puzzle for River Island, as we push forward in our mission to put ultra-modern technology and IT architecture at the heart of everything we do. If your background involves helping brands harness new tools and techniques to tackle business challenges, and you fancy joining a company that’s just been rated one of the top 25 Big Companies to Work For by the Sunday Times, take a look at our current vacancies.