This annual RFID Special Report is Apparel’s annual review of relevant marketplace developments. Part 1 of the report will focus on commercial topics. Part 2, which will be published next week, will focus on technology advances and considerations to guide future investment decisions.
Christmas came early last year. December 20th to be exact.
That is the day Nike’s chairman told a group of Wall Street analysts that Nike would begin putting RFID tags on all footwear and most of its apparel. Six months later, on another earnings call, he explained: “RFID gives us the most complete view of our inventory that we have ever had. It’s quickly becoming the most precise tool in our arsenal to meet an individual consumer’s specific need at the exact right moment.”
Not only is Nike positioning itself to “make the sale” whenever the desired item can be found in its own stores and warehouses. It also wants to tap into the inventory of its wholesale partners (such as Academy Sports) when needed.
Theoretically, all of this could be done without RFID. But without accurate visibility into its own inventory positions — and those of its partners — a bold program like this makes little sense. And it is precisely that sort of subtle nuance that escapes the attention of casual observers of the retail sector, and many full-time observers too.