Executive Briefings

Macy's Says RFID Enables Online Fulfillment Down to Last Item in Store

Macy's has taken live a new program that employs radio frequency identification to allow omnichannel fulfillment of consumer purchases, right down to its last available unit of in-store merchandise. The program, which Macy's has named Pick to the Last Unit (P2LU), enables the retailer to list goods for sale online even when there is only one such item available at the store.

In the past, inventory counts were simply not precise enough to ensure that a unit of a particular product was actually in stock and available for sale. However, Macy's says it has proven that by using RFID technology to perform inventory counts, it can be certain of what it has available and can, therefore, put it up for sale. The RFID system is provided by Tyco Retail Solutions, using that technology company's TrueVUE RFID Inventory Visibility software platform to capture inventory data.

When products are sold down to just one or two items of a specific size or color, they are traditionally put on a sales rack at a reduced price; in the case of online sales, they typically aren't listed at all. That's because even if one size of a particular stock-keeping unit is down to its last item at a store within a shopper's vicinity, there is too high a risk that the garment isn't actually in stock and available for sale. Between 15 and 20 percent of inventory falls in the "last unit" category, Macy's reported to Tyco. Therefore, a large percentage of goods, especially in the popular fashion category, cannot be sold online. That made a program such as P2LU a good idea, says Kim Warne, Tyco's global marketing director.

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In the past, inventory counts were simply not precise enough to ensure that a unit of a particular product was actually in stock and available for sale. However, Macy's says it has proven that by using RFID technology to perform inventory counts, it can be certain of what it has available and can, therefore, put it up for sale. The RFID system is provided by Tyco Retail Solutions, using that technology company's TrueVUE RFID Inventory Visibility software platform to capture inventory data.

When products are sold down to just one or two items of a specific size or color, they are traditionally put on a sales rack at a reduced price; in the case of online sales, they typically aren't listed at all. That's because even if one size of a particular stock-keeping unit is down to its last item at a store within a shopper's vicinity, there is too high a risk that the garment isn't actually in stock and available for sale. Between 15 and 20 percent of inventory falls in the "last unit" category, Macy's reported to Tyco. Therefore, a large percentage of goods, especially in the popular fashion category, cannot be sold online. That made a program such as P2LU a good idea, says Kim Warne, Tyco's global marketing director.

Read Full Article