INVENTORY

Department store chain improves inventory accuracy with RFID

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The Bon-Ton Stores is speeding up how it restocks merchandise.

The department store chain is replacing its manual, paper-based restocking process with a radio frequency identification (RFID)-based system. The solution, from Zebra, enables store associates to fully restock merchandise displays in a fraction of the time — a move that increases productivity and enables associates to spend more time servicing shoppers.

As soon as associates arrive for their shift in the morning, they scan the selling floor using the RFID-enabled readers to compare items on display against on-hand inventories. This process helps them identify missing items that should be on the sales floor. According to store audits, up to 20% of merchandise in certain categories might be missing from the sales floor during a given week, resulting in missed sales opportunities.

The solution also allows store associates to scan and tag new merchandise as it first arrives in-store so it can be immediately placed on display, leading to quicker item availability for shoppers and increased sales. The RFID technology also provides deeper visibility into what merchandise is available at all times, which increases inventory management efficiencies.

The solution is available in more than 180 Bon-Ton department stores.

“We look forward to expanding this rollout to include additional use cases across all of our stores in support of our omnichannel strategy to support our customers’ changing shopping habits,” said Lisa Celebre, VP of store operations, The Bon-Ton Stores.

Bon-Ton Stores operates 261 stores in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains regions under the Bon-Ton, Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers banners.

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ECOMMERCE

Best Buy creates ‘Dyson experiences’

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A consumer electronics giant is making a move to grab some wallet share from the home category.

Starting in August, Best Buy is adding Dyson Demo Experiences – dedicated spaces that will let customers try out Dyson products. Approximately 90 Best Buy stores in the United States will feature the new interactive sections, which will be designed for shoppers to test merchandise.

These store-within-a-store concepts will range in size, from 40 sq. ft. to about 400 sq. ft. There will also be an enhanced Dyson experience on BestBuy.com, according to the retailer.

“Dyson is a technology brand, and the innovation they put into their products needs to be seen to be believed. It’s important for customers to see it, touch it, try it, and ask questions about it,” said Kevin Balon, senior VP of appliances at Best Buy said in a company blog. “Our new partnership with Dyson checks all of those boxes, giving Best Buy customers the unique opportunity to try out their state-of-the-art products for themselves.”

The Dyson “shops” will also feature trained associates available to answer customer questions, lead product demos, and help shoppers choose the right product. Among the merchandise available include hair dryers, cord-free vacuums, and air purifiers.

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ECOMMERCE

Rent the Runway launches same-day delivery

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A designer fashion rental company is getting merchandise into New York City fashionistas' hands even faster.

Rent the Runway, already a disruptor in the traditional formal wear category, now offers a service that delivers orders in a matter of hours. Specifically, customers that place orders before 12 p.m., will have it in their hands by 5 p.m., according to CNBC.

All merchandise featured online qualifies for same-day delivery. Inventory is shipped from either the company’s Secaucus, New Jersey warehouse or its New York City store, according to TechCrunch.

According to CNBC, customers can rent tops, dresses, skirts, pants, accessories and outerwear. The clothing will start at $30, and every order will include a free back-up size. Deliveries will cost $9.95 — the same as Rent the Runway's standard shipping.

This is not Rent the Runway’s first foray into same-day delivery. The company has already experimented with the service through a partnership with UberRush. In New York, it has even made deliveries with their own couriers. However, this new service will be supported for the long-term, according to TechCrunch.

While the service is currently only available in New York City, the company plans to expand its same-day delivery concept to other cities depending on demand, CNBC said.

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