#RetailEXPO19: River Island mulls RFID-driven tech evolution

Martin Speed, safety and loss program manager at River Island, has revealed the retailer is considering a slew of RFID-based innovations.

Speaking at RetailEXPO in London, he said: “We are looking at the advantages of smart fitting rooms supported by RFID.

“All the way through the [shopping] process there is this evolutionary pressure building. We could use RFID for fast checkout and self checkout, and we foresee real benefits in introducing RFID at the end of the process to manage returns.”

The retailer’s confidence in the technology is born out of a successful implementation of it to help drive sales.

Speed said: “The real benefit of RFID is for the customer; they are now much more likely to find their size on the shelf.

“It has removed our gaps on display by 50% and when they look at our website it is accurate so they are not making wasted journeys to stores because of a mistake on the stock file."

Since implementing the technology the fashion retailer has increased stock accuracy from 72% to 97%.

Speeds added that 5% of sales come from stock that was only replenished as a result of RFID technology.

Bilyana Georgieva, principal delivery manager, River Island, likens the technology to Henry Ford offering customers a car rather than a “faster horse”.

She said: “My question to you IS what do you choose, a horse or a car? A manual process, or very fast readers that can give you realtime data into your omnichannel database?”.