Finding items for your customer is difficult. No more need to worry. RFID is here to help. Item search is easy and quick with RFID and will boost your sales significantly. See the video for the Nordic ID Morphic UHF RFID Cross Dipole performing stock count.
I worked in a fairly large department store during my studies,
not long ago. The store is known for its high quality service,
which sometimes meant long walks with the customer around the shop,
presenting several alternatives and finding some more. I really
enjoyed the interaction with the customers; I felt they appreciated
my expertise and were really open to try out something new. After
one satisfying purchase the same customers would often come back in
search of another product. These active customers also knew to
approach us, the staff, in order to find them their size from the
article of their desire. They had learned that if their size was
missing, it was possible for us to see whether some other stores
had it for example.
The sales assistant and mission
The retail store chain I worked for uses a mobile system based
on barcodes to keep the product information updated. The system
included a minimum amount of information of the products sold by
the retail chain and it was used in tracking the products. It
wasn't rare that the system would display one available item, yet
the item was not present on its supposed location in the store, but
in reality the item was not found in the department where it was
supposed to be. As this happened, I counted to ten. At worst the
same case repeated itself every day, many times per day. The stock
inventory information in the system was updated once a day when the
store was closed. Therefore, it was challenging to say whether the
item was still in the store or if it was already sold during the
day. From my point of view there were three alternatives: the item
was already bought by another customer, it was taken to another
part of the store or, it was stolen. And hence, I started my
marathon; I would search through all the showcases, dolls, dressing
rooms and stock rooms, as well as checked the reserved items.
Simultaneously, I jumped and ran between several customers and
tried to see whether some customer was carrying around the item I
was looking for. Often this took some time since the store was
rather large. And, of course, when being the only salesperson at
the department (as usually in the last hours of the day), there
were other customers in line waiting to be served, getting annoyed,
looking at me with a frustrated face.
Sometimes the search resulted in me finding the missing item and
the customer leaving pleased with the item purchased. On other
occasions, however, the item was not found. In such case I became
slightly frustrated about the existence and location of the item.
Clearly the customer loyalty decreased and the customer would leave
to visit the competitors' in order for them to satisfy his/her
needs. It does not really help to hear the customer saying "thank
you for an excellent customer service, you did your best" when the
customer leaves with empty hands since I have no idea whether we
had the item or not. However, I find some concellation in the fact
that these customers would later come back to buy something
ON A QUEST PRO RFID
As I've started to learn more and more about how technology can
serve the sales people, I have to ask myself why it is seen in so
few retail stores these days. All retailers want to serve their
customers the best, I just see how RFID can help in that. With a
system based on RFID my situation could have been completely
different. First, the system would have shown real-time information
about the products: if the item was sold two minutes ago, at the
point of sale the item would be removed from the stock count.
Secondly, if an item is taken to shop window or to be worn by a
doll, the visual merchandisers could add this information in the
system. Therefore, with a simple search function any salesperson
could see the true expected location of the item from the system
and the item could be taken to a customer in a minute.
And even with no specific stock locations in the system, one
department could be easily checked with a mobile RFID reader to
check if the item had only been misplaced. This takes less time
than running from shop window to another and constantly asking
colleagues. Just one button press allows the scanning of hundreds
of items just to see whether there are any misplaced items among
them. This would make the process of finding a lost item faster and
also the other customers could be served faster. According to some
European RFID pilots this feature can increase the sales of a store
up to 10%.
I have also come to understand that RFID can really enhance such
matters as excellent and fast customer service, which is something
that customers share on blogs and forums and therefore these active
blog readers are eager to come to experience the same themselves.
Perhaps in future we as customers might have an opportunity to gain
additional information about the products in dressing rooms or in
specific lounge areas, provided by RFID. But, let's get back to
that in a few years.
See a video of the amazing speedy inventory with the smallest UHF
RFID mobile computer there is.