SOLE announced today the launch of their own Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) based retail management system. The system, once installed at a retailer, will track inventory in real-time through an integrated point-of-purchase (POP) display, product tags and a SOLE retailer website.
Each pair of SOLE socks, footbeds and sandals will be labeled with a microchip that is encoded with product order details. A small hardware box installed on the base of a POP display reads the tags and transmits data back to the SOLE retailer website. On the website, retailers can view on-hand inventory, place orders and track shipments, all in real-time.
"We recognized a long time ago that optimizing inventory is a universal challenge for both manufacturers and their retailer partners. As such, we targeted inventory management as an area ripe for system innovation," states SOLE president, Mike Baker. " We've got a really strong tech team on staff so when we couldn't find a third-party solution we liked, we built the RFID system ourselves. We think this will be a game-changer for our business and potentially throughout the industry."
This is a smart competitive move for SOLE as anything that improves efficiency and transparency for the retailer means more product ordered. However, I have to ask, is it good for the industry as a whole for SOLE to be pushing a proprietary RFID solution? I can imagine your average retailer is not going to to be happy about integrating a different inventory management system for every brand they carry. I think OIA should be championing a standards based approach to inventory management that every brand and every retailer should have to adopt. That would truly be a game-changer for the industry.