Macy’s Quiet Omnichannel Upgrade

There has been plenty of news in recent weeks coming out involving Macy’s long list of operational and inventory issues, but one of the retail industry’s largest department store chains can’t stay down forever.

Macy’s and Tyco Retail Solutions announced that they would be rolling out a new inventory management system in the retailer’s stores that makes use of RFID tags embedded in products for a real-time granular look at remaining items. Nancy Chisholm, president of Tyco Retail Solutions, explained that the system will allow Macy’s to list every individual item in its stores for sale, down to the last remaining item of each type it carries — instead of the old, inaccurate practice of estimating remaining stocks and pulling online listings out of fear of not being able to fulfill orders.

“Macy’s is a great example of how item-level RFID bolsters inventory optimization and opens up a world of possibilities for omnichannel fulfillment success,” Chisholm said in a statement. “By utilizing our unique RFID Inventory Visibility offering, Macy’s has a complete view of enterprise-wide inventory to satisfy customer demand and achieve their ‘buy anywhere, fulfill anywhere’ vision. It not only allows them to enhance the overall customer experience but also to maximize revenue opportunities from omnichannel programs.”

The move is peculiar if only because of Macy’s well-publicized inventory issues that occurred over the unseasonably warm holiday shopping period. Macy’s was up front about the fact that it purchased too much cold weather inventory and struggled to move it when temperatures refused to drop heading into Christmas. Though improved inventory management is never a bad idea, it might be a silver bullet for Macy’s as it attempts to dig itself out of the sizable inventory hole it dug for itself over the holidays.

“About 15 percent to 20 percent of inventory is accounted for by the last unit in the store,” Peter Longo, president of logistics and operations at Macy’s, said. “It’s a massive amount of budget, either marked down or not sold, and it is curable through RFID.”



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