Retail RFID software specialist Detego has announced a new solution to support retailers and help them maintain business continuity during the ongoing effects of COVID-19. The solution, available to retailers using RFID, will allow brands to adapt to the increased pressure on their DC / DTC operations as eCommerce becomes their primary sales channel. With it, retailers will be able to utilise efficient RFID processes to drastically increase the speed of handling returns directly from consumers back into their DCs.
Detego, who partners with several major fashion retail brands, aims to alleviate some of the pressure on retailers due to the COVID-19 epidemic by solidifying their eCommerce operations and returns process for increased demand. With retail sales down and brick-and-mortar stores being heavily affected by closures and social distancing measures, Detego is anticipating an unprecedented shift to online shopping. Whilst the majority of retailers run eCommerce operations alongside their physical stores, this is typically only around 10-15% of their overall retail sales. For omnichannel retailers, eCommerce has now become the primary sales channel for the foreseeable future. There is already early evidence of this, with preliminary data from Quantum Metric showing that eCommerce associated with Brick and Mortar retailers saw an average revenue weekly growth rate increase of 52%.
This sudden shift to eCommerce will pose significant challenges for many retail distribution centres, as supply chains and operational systems may struggle or even buckle under the increased pressure. The primary challenge that comes with increased online sales is the subsequent increase in returns. While shoppers return only 10% of what they buy in stores, they send back up to 50% of what they buy online. The major capacity concern will be in the increased rate of online orders and will most likely present bottlenecks and stockouts in the returns process.
The new returns module (part of Detego’s end-to-end RFID platform) strengthens distribution centres by utilising fast and efficient inbound RFID reading of cartons/boxes to verify against a target list based on the returned item from the customer.
The SaaS-enabled solution integrates with all standard RFID hardware and WMS (Warehouse Management Systems) to count, verify, display, track and manage inventory moving from the DC/DTC to consumer or wholesaler as well as processing all returns back to the DC / DTC. Additional functionality will also allow retailers to use a ‘quality grading’ system and display product imagery to more effectively identify and sort inbound returns.
RFID-enabled retailers utilising the solution can achieve greater flexibility in ordering and fulfilment due to forecasting of incoming returns/shipments and up to 90% faster processing times. This not only prevents bottlenecks occurring in the supply chain due to unprocessed returns, but it ensures stock is made available as soon as possible upon being returned, reducing out-of-stocks on the webshop. This is in addition to 100% shipping accuracy and verifying the legitimacy of returns using unique digital identity provided by RFID tags.