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Decathlon uses RFID tags to make products smarter

Decathlon uses RFID tags to make products smarter


Decathlon is a French sportswear retailer with 1,500 stores and omnichannel evolution. It has a good story in the field of operations and logistics, where RFID tags are used.


The retailer has expanded its established RFID program for almost three years, using tags for all of its products in order to manage inventory and ensure cargo safety.


This is part of a supply plan that has been in partnership with SML Group for more than five years. It aims to ensure that Decathlon’s supplier network uses RFID stickers and tags to sew clothes into the manufacturing process.


Each RFID item is assigned a separate electronic product code (EPC) number to match a unique product SKU. The resulting item-level tracking improves inventory management and ensures better cargo availability, while also reducing out-of-stocks and improving customer service.


Embisphere manages Decathlon's RFID program. In addition to inventory management, RFID tags are also associated with electronic commodity surveillance security tags on high-value items.


This year, Decathlon announced plans to provide a "scan and forward" service in its Dutch store in response to changing customer behavior. The service will allow customers to scan and pay for items on their smartphones and disable RFID tags so that they can log out without having to queue or wait for checkout.


 Decathlon partnered with MishiPay to launch the product, which started in stores in Rotterdam and Eindhoven. Our idea is to take advantage of the fact that almost all shoppers use mobile phones in stores, which means that the technology is already available.


Sybe De Graaf, Decathlon’s Chief Technology Officer, stated: “We are always looking for new ways to improve the customer’s experience and eliminate friction in their in-store journey. MishiPay’s mobile self-checkout is very fast and can be easily expanded.”


A recent study showed that retailers using RFID tags-radio frequency identification-are expected to see their sales increase. The analysis analyzed the use of tags by 10 retailers and found a maximum increase of up to 5.5%. The study was led by Adrian Beck of the University of Leicester and involved leading retailers and brands including Adidas, C&A, Decathlon and Tesco.


Professor Baker combined face-to-face interviews with quantitative data on business performance. The report found that all research companies have received positive returns on their investments in the use of RFID, and in particular all companies have achieved sales growth due to the increased inventory generated by the use of RFID.

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