How RDID technology improves retail inventory management

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  • Do You Know Where Your Inventory Is?

    When I worked in the airline business our most embarrassing incident was “losing a minor”. We never lost a child, of course. But we might not have known where a child was for certain period of time. Even though this was an extremely rare occurrence, we built serious procedures to prevent it from happening. The retail industry faces a similar scenario that retail technology is poised to tackle: improve inventory management. Macy’s has a monthly inventory loss is 3%. This is no small number, given that inventory is the whole business.

    Retail Technology and Inventory Management

    This week we visited Bloomingdales in Soho, NYC, to experience a demo with Stealthmatrix.

    Stealthmatrix is an AR technology based on gaming. It enables sales associates to manage inventory much more efficiently. With the device, one can built a 2D Map of a sales floor, scan thousands of RFID tags, and then search any item based on the unique product code from the inventory file. We saw how sales associates can also search by designer, size and any other field that comes through from the inventory file. As usual, the quality of the data defines the quality of the experience.

    The implications of this retail technology trend are even more exciting than the technology itself! Think about it! With RFID tags (current cost is 10 cents) that can be located, you can put a device on top of a loading dock or a warehouse door and monitor the movement of your inventory. This provides a variety of advantages. You can manage theft better. And you can find items that are out of season and send them back to the vendor faster.

    Revolutionizing Experiences for Employees and Customers

    Our favorite part about this retail technology trend is the ways in which it can revolutionize employee and customer experience. When a sales associate is empowered to deliver a professional, efficient, seamless experience, that associate’s confidence skyrockets. They are no longer unsure about where items are. They KNOW. And when we combine this technology with consumer website behavior, and put that knowledge in the associate’s hands on an iPad, hospitality service comes to life in stores!

    Just think about it. Walking in the future Lord&Taylor and giving the sales associate your account ID. With only that small piece of information s/he can see your shopping cart and bring those items to your dressing room. This consumer experience makes the sales associate proud to serve, and it creates a personalized consumer experience that will increase customer satisfaction and store revenue.

    Increasing Operational Efficiencies through Retail Technology

    Now, if you are a brand with constant inventory movement like Rent the Runaway, Le Tote or Stichfix, the RFID technology can bring a new level of operational efficiencies. And lower your costs. It is rare to find a solution that lowers costs and increases revenues. So pay attention. And try this as soon as you can.

    McKinsey’s Praveen Adhi wrote in Entrepreneur that to succeed in 2020 retail brands need to restructure their cost stack and move funds towards customer service. He urged POCs and trials with technology to explore the retail experience of the future. If you want to stay relevant, you need to add innovation to your budget now.

    We would not be completely correct if we neglected to remind you to include training costs in your 2020 budget. No innovation or technology trend alone (retail technology or otherwise) can create memorable experiences. The sales associates’ empowerment that the technology can provide requires culture-driven hospitality standards to make the right conversations take place while they are serving consumers.

    We can help you set up the right proof of concept for new retail technology. And we can teach you how to scale a new cost efficient, customer-centric operation. And once we have done this, we can start talking about how to put this technology in the hands of the consumer to enable self-service too!

    Organizational Culture and Access to Information

    By and large, people perceive culture as an HR discipline. The most common perception is that culture covers the soft side of performance. Culture is about how you do things, not so much about what you do. This approach to culture could not be more wrong. In fact, organizational culture is about so much more than a few words in a performance review sheet.  It is about leaders expressing values, and the action guidance their cultural behaviors provide.

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    Get Customer Experience Basics Right and You Don’t Need to Invest in Wow Moments

    Wow Moments are a Customer Experience hot topic. Customer experience professionals ideate how to build, prioritize, finance, and measure these Wow Moments. Chip and Dan Heath wrote a whole book on the topic: The Power of Moments. No Wow Moment saves you from negative word of mouth if your brand fails to get the customer experience basics right or to deliver the expected brand experience consistently.

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    How a Personal Interaction builds Customer Loyalty

    A customer-centric methodology is key to the successful outcome of my interaction with Hello Spud. It is the reason this story appears here, and not among the CX Big Fails! The company did not send an automated response. It did not deliver a message stating “sorry we couldn’t help you, would you like something else.” Instead, the company co-founder reached out to me personally across multiple channels (a handwritten note, followed by personal emails).

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