Using RFID to Take Customer Service to the Next Level

Executive Summary: SML Photos 15

A leading global retailer in the UK serves 80 million shopping trips per week. A pioneer in leveraging technology to improve the customer experience, the brand has deployed RFID in hundreds of stores for accurate inventory management of one of the largest and most thorough retail RFID deployments in the world. Now the company is looking at new ways to use RFID to continue serving customers a little better every day.  Their team of more than 480,000 employees worldwide strives to serve shoppers a little better every day.

Blending this customer service heritage with a track record of innovation, this retailer has been at the forefront of revolutionizing the customer experience with the help of technology. As a fashion brand, this meant the deployment of RFID technology to improve inventory management and enable more efficient and responsive shopper engagement models.  

Cutting-Edge Fashion Retailing Needs Fast and Accurate Inventory Management

With a rapidly growing apparel and footwear business, this fashion brand needed a more effective way to manage inventory in order to enhance customer service, particularly in light of changing trends in customer shopping expectations.

Previously, the retailer used only bar codes and manual counters to monitor stock; however, they were lacking real-time visibility into inventory, resulting in out-of-stocks. With the success that these stores have experienced, the brand is growing rapidly. Innovation enabled by RFID helps sales staff to better serve customers and increase productivity, resulting in a more successful operation and improved overall customer experience.

According to the Head of Technology for the company, “Innovating for customers is in our DNA. We understand that a key to delivering a great customer experience is to have more of the right products available on the shop floor to delight our customers.” The brand is now implementing new inventory management solution.

RFID Deployment

“RFID was first piloted in three stores to ensure the technology would meet our requirements, measuring RFID read performance and improvements in inventory accuracy,” said the Head of Technology. “Shortly afterward, we selected SML for the RFID tags and software and hardware that would best suit our application and rolled out the full solution to a small set of stores to fine-tune the processes.”

SML provides over 100 million RFID tags annually that are encoded in a number of our global service bureaus for this UK brand. The two companies partnered to develop custom interfaces between the enterprise systems and the SML Clarity™ 3.X software, resulting in state-of-the art performance and scalability in an RFID solution. The complete RFID solution, which includes RFID handheld terminals and fixed RFID readers at transitions and receiving, has since been deployed to over 500 UK stores since 2015, helping to effectively manage more than 95 percent of the fashion brand’s items.

RFID Changing Customer Service SML Photos 22

Beyond the RFID benefits of inventory management, the retailer is able to change the way they serve customers, providing shoppers with real-time information and greater product availability — in the styles, sizes and colors they want. RFID has reduced out-ofstocks by an average of 75 percent when implemented in stores.

In addition to enabling a more positive customer experience in-store, RFID helps improve customer service and engagement models with real-time stock information about when products will be delivered to the store, as well as what products are currently available in the distribution warehouse or in near-by stores for pick-up.

“We wanted the ability to run quick and accurate RFID stock counts, allowing individual stores to replenish shelves on a daily basis to offer customers a greater product selection while reducing unneeded inventory,” said the Head of Technology. “Increased inventory visibility also helps us improve our ‘Click & Collect’ customer engagement model operations for a better overall customer experience.”

It’s also increasing profitability.

According to a recent investor report, RFID deployment has helped 54 stores in the UK get back in profit. In addition, back room stock has been reduced by 19 percent and stock availability has risen from 93 percent to 96 percent in the last two years, which is a major factor to increasing profitability. SML’s RFID technology has no doubt contributed to this increase in inventory control.



As the leading full-service RFID solution provider, SML is a trusted partner to the world’s largest retailers and top fashion brands, delivering proven results and rapid ROI. SML offers a broad spectrum of certified RFID-enabled tags and the enterprise-class Clarity™ RFID software application suite providing best-in-class item-level RFID inventory management in-store and throughout the supply chain.

SML has successfully deployed RFID tags and software solutions to some of the world’s most prominent retailers, including Decathlon, Herman Kay, Marks & Spencer, Lids, Mydyer, Tesco and many others. SML has delivered over one billion encoded RFID tags to retailers in 2016 and over five billion retail RFID transactions were successfully conducted on Clarity™ in 2016 creating millions of dollars in enterprise benefit for our customers. Whether a retailer or brand owner needs millions of high quality encoded RFID tags delivered to factories around the world, or they need a full RFID software solution to drive significant business transformation, or both, SML is the Technology Behind this New Era in Retailing.

For more information about any of our RFID tag or software solutions visit our SML-RFID website at or reach out to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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