Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bookseller uses item-level RFID and kiosks to lower costs, boost sales

RetailWire has a nice discussion of item-level RFID tagging being used by Selexyz, the largest bookseller in the Netherlands. In an effort to reduce costs and improve inventory management, the retailer is rolling out RFID technology to track every item in every store. The stores will also deploy kiosks to track items in the store and help customers locate specific books. As the article notes:

Kiosks have been designed for the retailer that track books by section and shelf location as well as the ability to order. Customers using the kiosk have increased their purchases by 50 percent compared to what they were buying prior to the technology tool being placed in stores.

Selexyz' RFID system allows the retailer to track books on an individual basis from the point where a sku leaves the distribution center to the point it is purchased. The system can even identify when a book has been placed in the wrong section of the store.

According to the bookstore chain, it has achieved an almost 100 percent accuracy rate. Errors have resulted when tags were placed in the wrong area on an item or because they fell off.

I can't imagine that a 50% increase is really sustainable (there must be some novelty factor involved), but then again, I know that I've personally gone into Barnes & Noble, looked for a book, asked for help, was continually unable to find what I was looking for, and left empty handed (usually to go home and buy what I was looking for at Amazon). The retailer says they plan to add additional features to the kiosk later, but for now the focus is entirely on the RFID systems.

I also blogged briefly on Using RFID to improve the customer experience over at In-Store & Retail Media News.

Tags: RFID, kiosks, in-store media, merchandising, self-service, product locator

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