Managing inventory as a multi-brand retailer

While most stores carry one brand, limiting their products to a specific identity, category, and limited lines, multi-brand retailers and department stores provide variety & options – allowing consumers to shop with all their favourite brands in one location. Whether brands are in the same verticals, all selling sportswear or designer clothing, or a mix of anything from pet food to baby clothes to sofas.

This variety attracts consumers as stores become a “one-stop-shop", however, all this choice adds a level of complexity to managing inventory. Whether it is sourcing stock from multiple suppliers in different regions with multiple Order Management Systems, or having to optimise warehouse storage for the diverse stock – maintaining a universal point-of-truth for stock can become difficult. Shrinkage, overstocking & out-of-stock scenarios become more & more common.

Where do we begin?

The transparency that is provided through the use of RFID has proven benefits for traditional retailers & supply chain. While it has been gaining popularity for a while, department stores & multi-brand retailers are yet to adopt. But how does it genuinely benefit multi-brand retailers & department stores?

Real-time data

RFID stores data that you can read from a distance & - unlike barcodes, does not require line-of sight. It is a quick & effortless way to validate what you have throughout your entire supply chain, whether receiving stock from a supplier, shipping stock between stores or auditing your back-room

As a result, inventory is managed more efficiently and at a lower cost without compromising accuracy as there are fewer chances of human error.

Optimized restocking and allocations

Once you know what you have & where you have it, it's easier to start investigating how to move it more effectively. Multi-brand retailers & department stores hold a lot of Articles, sizes & colours from different brands – but a customer wants a specific item. Not is a size smaller or larger than what is needed. With the transparency gained from the frequent inventory counts, Chainlane provides the right actionable insights that reduce the ineffective stocking & allocations. You are empowered with the information that helps satisfy the needs of the customer & make that sale – replenishing fast-moving stock efficiently ahead of an out-of-stock scenario.

Personalized shopping experience and omnichannel

Inventory accuracy is integral to enable omnichannel shopping. With a real-time accurate stock file, you can pin-point which stores have availability & reflect this on your e-commerce platform so you can increase in-store traffic. Alternatively, if convenience is what they are looking for Click & Collect or home delivery can easily be arranged. This seamless experience of multiple sales channels requires robust, centralised & instantaneous inventory management, which is supplemented by RFID processes.

Enhanced security and minimized loss

Using RFID technology, retailers can track each item leaving their store, preventing shoplifting from going unnoticed. In addition, having a tracking system implemented in-store reduces the chances of internal theft; if employees previously thought nobody would notice tiny thefts within a large store, they’re now aware each item is tracked and can be traced when it leaves the store.

Moreover, RFID also helps reduce shrinkage caused by process failures such as misplaced inventory, inaccurate registry, or mistakes in shipments. While human errors will always happen, notifying and responding on time can save a lot of trouble and cost.

RFID is also increasingly being used to prevent loss, in-store or in the supply chain. The visibility of frequent inventory counts allows you to pin-point the last time a unique item was identified, to aid investigation. In addition, there is a decrease in costs of having to acquire EAS hard-tags & apply them manually in-stores. Each item is tracked & accounted for

Moreover, RFID also helps reduce shrinkage caused by process failures such as misplaced inventory, inaccurate registry, or mistakes in receiving. While human error will always happen, the stock will be adjusted the next time an inventory count or shipment is created.

Why is adoption still slow for Multi-brand Retailers & Department stores?

Multi-brand Retailers & Department stores tend to receive their inventory from many different suppliers, each with their own ways to track products. Whether it is how Shipping notices are issued or the format of their own Stock Keeping Units (SKU) – there's a lot of variety. It’s a common belief that RFID implementation in such environments is too complicated.

Chainlane for department stores and multi-brand retailers

Chainlane has overcome the complexity of such retail landscape by creating a tool that “translates” all the different SKUs into one language for seamless RFID serialisation. Our R-Code feature also enables the use of multiple RFID serialistation, so you can utilise existing RFID tags that are applied by suppliers further upstream to continually reduce costs.

In summary, RFID is an absolute game-changer for department stores and multi-brand retailers. The challenges these businesses face in managing diverse and extensive inventories are truly unique, but RFID offers a solution that's nothing short of remarkable. From real-time inventory tracking to bolstering security measures and efficient restocking, RFID is a multifaceted tool that addresses these specific needs with precision. While concerns about the complex landscapes of systems have held some multi-brand retailers back, forward-facing solutions like Chainlane's R-Code simplify adoption. The undeniable truth is that RFID is not merely a choice but a vital necessity for department stores and multi-brand retailers to stay competitive and thrive in today's dynamic retail landscape.