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adidas to open RFID-enabled NEO stores in 2012

adidas plans to open 10 of its NEO specialty apparel stores in Germany during 2012, and will outfit the units with RFID and other cutting edge retail technologies.

According to the adidas earnings report released on March 7, the company will leverage RFID to support and optimize inventory management and product availability.

adidas will unveil RFID and social media at its new NEO stores in 2012.

In addition, adidas will utilize RFID to improve the consumer shopping experience through unique shopping interfaces, such as the social mirror, which allows customers to try on their favorite NEO outfits, then upload photos or video directly to Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets.

A shopper looking for a new outfit to wear to a concert, for example, could upload photos to a friend’s Facebook account to get an immediate opinion of the wardrobe. The adidas NEO Label is marketed as sporty and casual, and seeks to use social media as a major marketing initiative.

This year is expected to be a banner year for retail adoption of item level RFID tagging, especially at the apparel level. While major chains like Macy’s and Target have announced their intentions to quickly adopt the technology, it is believed that a slew of specialty retailers, such as adidas, will roll out RFID during the next 12 months.

At the Checkpoint Apparel Day held in Germany earlier this month, it was revealed that many retailers have reduced out-of-stocks by up to 30 percent, increased sales by 5 percent, and reduced working capital anywhere from 10 to 20 percent after introducing RFID into their operations.

adidas opened its first NEO store in Germany in February. It already operates 29 units in Russia.

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