RFID Talk Blog

Can you afford to lose $15M in sales?

Every once in a while an everyday shopping experience serves to emphasize how much the retail industry needs RFID technology. The shoe and apparel industry are leading the way when it comes to item level tagging, but much more needs to be done.

On Saturday I stopped at a Clark’s shoe store in Massachusetts in search of a spring boating shoe. When I asked the store associate if they had the style I chose in a size 12, he disappeared into the backroom for five minutes. You can guess where this story is going. He re-emerged with a highly frustrated look on his face, only to request the help of another store associate. Five minutes later, they emerged with a size 12. Now, when the shoe didn’t fit quite right I wasn’t about to wait another 10 minutes while they found another size, so I left the store. I’ll most likely think twice before I shop at Clarks again.

What stands out here is not only that the store lost a $100 sale, but that it took two sales associates off the sales floor on a busy Saturday afternoon for 10 minutes or longer. That clearly limited the store’s ability to sell to other customers as well.

Despite the recent news of major RFID retail deployments, this kind of customer service and lack of inventory visibility is still commonplace. Think about the consequences. If the store loses one $100 sale a day, that adds up to $3,000 a month, or $36,000 a year. If two customers walk away each day, that total grows to $72,000. For one store!

Now, if the same scenario is unfolding at each of Clark’s 250 retail locations in North America, then it’s safe to assume that Clark’s is losing between $9 million and $15 million in sales each year! Clark’s website boasts of the innovative footwear technology that goes into making a highly comfortable shoe. Clearly, the company needs to invest in RFID technology as well.

Click here to view RFID 24-7′s previous coverage on retail RFID.

 

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