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Due to the implementation of RFID technology, Bon-Ton Stores Inc. is executing an improved customer experience — online and in stores.

In a case study published by Zebra Technologies, Lisa Celebre, vice president of stores operations at the retailer, said after piloting use of the technology to increase visibility of its inventory, plans are in place to roll out RFID to all of its stores. The retailer worked with Zebra to develop RFID tags and a mobile device platform that “has not only improved display compliance, [but] also enhanced the customer experience,” Zebra said in the case study. “With the more automated RFID inventory system, Bon-Ton now knows with certainty that all available merchandise is on display,” the company added.

Celebre said the retailer’s omnichannel strategy is to “build a platform that supports the customer’s changing shopping habits. We understand that the customer can buy anything from anywhere — using a phone, a tablet, a desktop or by traveling to the store. That means Bon-Ton needs to have our inventory accessible and available regardless of fulfillment — whether it’s fulfilled at the warehouse, at the store or obtained through buy-online-pick-up in the store.”

Bon-Ton’s focus on omnichannel execution includes a service called “Let Us Find It.” The service enables sales associates to locate “out-of-stock merchandise for customers by searching the available inventory in all stores — and then having it delivered directly to the customer’s house,” the retailer noted. Having clear and up-to-date visibility of inventory is essential to execute the service, Zebra said.

Anders Gustafsson, chief executive officer of Zebra, told WWD that retailers and brands that deploy RFID can increase their inventory accuracy rates from 60 percent to 90 percent or more. And this is critical given the convergence of digital and physical retailing.

Zebra offers mobile computers, scanners and bar code printers that are enhanced with platforms and services that “enable real-time enterprise visibility solutions” the ceo said.

The technology company said Bon Ton replaced a “manual, paper-based process” with Zebra’s MC3190-Z RFID handheld reader. The reader was rolled out to 180 stores. “As soon as associates arrive in the morning, they scan the selling floor using the MC3190-Z readers to compare items on display against on-hand inventories, helping them identify missing items that should be on the sales floor,” Zebra said. “Store audits revealed that with the previously used manual system, up to 20 percent of merchandise in certain categories might be missing from the sales floor during a given week, resulting in missed sales opportunities.”

Pat Glennon, vice president of retail at Zebra, said its Enterprise Asset Intelligence solutions “provide retailers with visibility and actionable information about their customers, inventory and other valued assets from the point of sale to the distribution center and beyond.”

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