The “BOPIS Retailer Scorecard” was developed by a team under Dr. Bill Hardgrave with the purpose of testing the Omni-Channel claims of many retailers in the United States. The scorecard was developed to analyze a retailer’s ‘buy-online-pickup-in-store’ (BOPIS) capabilities and compare their performance to other retailers in the industry. Retailers are judged across the three stages of a BOPIS order: online operations, communication between customer and retailer, and pickup process. The aggregated results for twenty (20) of the nation’s largest retailers are also incorporated into this document to provide industry averages for comparative purposes.
Quantifying Customer Experience | DART Whitepaper
Quantifying brick-and-mortar customer experience has been a challenge daunting retailers and brands alike. Recognizing this, The DART Group has developed a toolset that quantifies customer experience and observes alterations of consumer behavior when integrated technology solutions are implemented. By visiting brick-and-mortar stores, evaluating aspects of customer experience, and constructing a Process, Layout, and Metric (PLM) Model, the identified knowledge gap for a retailer can be closed. The PLM Model shows in-store processes with correlating layouts. These layouts show physical changes used to enhance customer experience, ultimately addressing metrics desired by the retailer.
CHain Integration Project (CHIP) Proof-of-Concept Whitepaper
The CHIP (CHain Integration Project) Initiative at the Auburn University RFID Lab recently concluded its Proof-of-Concept phase, which sought to prove the viability of a blockchain solution for serialized data exchange. Nike, PVH Corp., HermanKay, Kohl’s, and Macy’s participated in the first phase of the project by contributing item-level data streams from various supply chain nodes from January to December 2019. The project was able to successfully integrate serialized data streams from source to store, connecting the dots between isolated touch points and forging a history for each product that passed through the supply chain.
The solution was constructed on a Hyperledger Fabric foundation and additional details regarding the business case, solution architecture, and next steps are available in the official CHIP Whitepaper.
Why Retail is Ready for Blockchain
In the evolving world of international supply chain, the demand for improved product visibility and source-to-store traceability has never been higher. Many brands and retailers operate trade networks that integrate hundreds of suppliers, logistics providers, and distribution channels with physical footprints spanning the globe. In addition
to the distributed nature of supply chain stakeholders, disparate information systems suffer constant communication issues between trade partners, which is largely due to outdated digital strategies and complex, home-grown systems.
These assorted systems produce different dialects of data, creating more confusion than clarity when it comes to exchanging product information between trade partners. As legacy systems evolve and serialized systems like RFID are adopted, the retail industry as a whole generates exponential amounts of data. In fact, most supply chains today
are flooded with 50 times more data than they were just five years earlier, yet only a quarter of that data is utilized in a relevant timeframe (1).
Collectively, burdensome exchange practices and dissimilar data have inhibited the industry’s ability to leverage their growing Internet-of-Things (IoT) infrastructure and extract supply chain-wide insights. These isolated systems coupled with outdated exchange methods not only restrict visibility throughout the supply chain but also underpin fundamental business operations. Consequently, widespread inefficiencies and substantial costs propagate from one stakeholder to the next. As a result, billions of dollars are lost each year throughout the industry as retailers, brand owners, and logistics providers are plagued by problems like shrink, claims, and counterfeiting. These issues represent only a handful of the problems facing the global supply chain ecosystem, and the retail apparel industry as a whole is plagued with cost-consuming pain points that are consequences of deficient data exploitation.
Enter blockchain, a transformative technology introduced by cryptocurrencies that holds the promise of alleviating today’s supply chain pain points. Blockchain technology enables a new type of business model driven by the collaboration between parties who work together to establish a trusted record of information that is maintained through mutual agreement, or “consensus.” The responsibility of governing this network and maintaining a collective record of truth is shared amongst network participants, eliminating the need for third parties to facilitate exchange or to act as trusted middlemen. By removing the need for outside entities to establish trust or vouch for integrity, those participating in a blockchain network are able to transact directly and more efficiently, as well as maintain ownership of their data. In the case of a trade network, all relevant stakeholders could share the responsibility of contributing and independently validating product information as goods flow through the supply chain, resulting in a mutually agreed-upon record of information available to relevant trade partners.
Given the current business landscape, there is tremendous application potential for blockchain technology to streamline exchange and cultivate collaboration between trade partners. The retail apparel industry is well-positioned to utilize blockchain, especially where IoT infrastructure and serialized data systems are already in place. Successful implementation of a blockchain-based solution for supply chain is dependent on each stakeholder’s
ability to identify products and capture information related to those products. Therefore, serialized systems, like RFID or other solutions that are capable of capturing item-level information, are the foundational data sources for a blockchain solution—the more granular the product information is, the more valuable the blockchain application can be. However, use of blockchain technology in retail apparel today is limited, given that insufficient exploration has yet to prove out the potential of this technology.
Download and read the full paper, Why Retail is Ready for Blockchain
Key Considerations for RFID Pilots and Deployments
Over the past several years, we have worked with many retailers (large and small) on their RFID pilots and early-stage deployments. Every pilot and deployment is different and presents its own opportunities and challenges. However, across all of these projects, we have recognized some common errors and pitfalls that retailers face. Accordingly, we have distilled these errors and pitfalls into a list of 10 deployment rules. While following these rules will not guarantee pilot or deployment success, they can hopefully make one aware of the issues and, thus, make a decision to either make a correction or intentionally accept the potential consequences of ignoring the pitfall. Although this is not an exhaustive list, the 10 rules represent the most severe and most common pitfalls.
RFID Item-level Quantity Auditing for Apparel Supplier Distribution Centers.
The study is a continuation of the Phase I study into Supplier ROI, and was performed through 2011 with funding by GS1 US and the American Apparel and Footwear Association AAFA. The goal of the research was to focus on a few key use cases as identified in Phase I, analyze RFID data collected from Retail Suppliers who are implementing these use cases, and determine to what extent RFID can be used to generate ROI within a Supplier’s own operations. Much of the research focused on the Supplier’s Distribution Centers, and how RFID can help with inventory accuracy, shipping accuracy, and the costs to achieve high levels of accuracy. Also the effects of inventory accuracy on Retailer claims and DC operations are discussed. Some tools are included to allow suppliers to calculate potential ROI within their own operations.
An Empirical Study of Potential Uses of RFID In The Apparel Retail Supply Chain
Phase I of an empirical study of potential uses of radio frequency identification (RFID) in the apparel supply chain was conducted in the fall of 2010. This Phase of the research was designed to identify potential use cases for the use of RFID in an apparel supply chain and was funded by GS1 US and the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA). The three-phase Supplier ROI study is commonly referred to as the Many-to-Many study. Phase II will involve the measurement of ROI for select use cases identified in Phase I. Phase III will study the effect of RFID on multiple suppliers simultaneously through an experiment. The use cases were solicited from a wide range of companies, in several different countries, in many different types of facilities, and thus reveal where the industry collectively believes the greatest RFID benefits reside. Over a period of several months, we collected more than 60 use cases. The findings of Phase I show that the potential benefits of item-level RFID in the apparel supply chain reach beyond the retailer and include apparel manufacturers.
RFID-Enabled Visibility and Retail Inventory Record Inaccuracy: Experiments in the Field
Accurate inventory records are key to effective store execution, affecting forecasting, ordering, and replenishment. Prior empirical research, however, shows that retailer inventory records are inherently inaccurate. Radio Frequency Identification RFID enables visibility into the movement of inventories in the supply chain. Using two different field experiments, the current research investigates the effectiveness of this visibility in reducing retail store inventory record inaccuracy IRI. Study 1 used an interrupted time series design and involved daily physical counts of all products in one category in 13 stores 8 treatment and 5 control of a major global retailer over 23 weeks. Study 2, which used an untreated control group design with pre-test and post-test, the number of categories was expanded to five and the number of stores to 62 31 treatment and 31 control stores. The results from both studies provide guidance for researchers and practitioners for the deployment of RFID in the retail store by 1 demonstrating that case-level tagging can be effective in reducing IRI with the ecological validity provided by a field experiment, and 2 providing the key insight that the technology is most effective for product categories characterized by known determinants of IRI.
Item-Level RFID for Apparel/Footwear: The JC Penney RFID Initiative
It has been proven that item-level RFID can improve many in-store processes for retailers. In particular, the business case for RFID for retailers looks promising. Previous studies have shown the benefits of RFID at the pallet and case level, such as reducing out of stocks and improving inventory count accuracy. Therefore, it seems logical that item-level RFID would provide even more benefits. In this study, we examine the use of item-level RFID at a major apparel and home retailer, JCPenney. Specifically, the use cases of inventory accuracy and inventory management using RFID replenishment reports are investigated, with incidental attention to cycle counting. This pilot’s results support previous research, demonstrating the tendency for inventory accuracy to diminish over time, as well as the potential for improvement in inventory accuracy due to RFID. Improved inventory accuracy leads to fewer out of stocks, less safety stock, and better ordering and forecasting, among others.
Item-Level RFID for Apparel: The Bloomingdale’s RFID Initiative
Item-level RFID has the potential to improve many in-store processes for retailers. In particular, the business case for RFID for apparel retailers looks promising. Previous studies have shown the benefits of RFID at the pallet and case level, such as reducing out of stocks and improving inventory count accuracy. It seems logical, therefore, that item-level RFID would provide even more benefits. In this study, we examine the use of item-level RFID at a major apparel retailer, Bloomingdale”s. Specifically, the use cases of inventory accuracy and out of stocks are investigated, with incidental attention to cycle counting and loss prevention. Results clearly indicate the tendency for inventory accuracy to diminish over time, as well as the potential for improvement in inventory accuracy due to RFID. Improved inventory accuracy leads to fewer out of stocks, less safety stock, and better ordering and forecasting, among others. The ability to quickly and accurately conduct cycle counting facilitated by RFID, rather than doing large scale inventories once or twice per year, offers the advantage of keeping inventory accuracy high. Finally, for loss prevention, RFID provides the advantage of knowing exactly what was stolen, when it was stolen, and from where it was stolen. In addition to the insights this provides to improve loss prevention methods, knowing exactly what was stolen allows the retailer to adjust inventory counts accordingly and order more product, as needed.