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Rhythm Snowsports is carving success with RFID

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Wintersport lovers passing through Cooma, the gateway to the “Snowy Mountains” of Australia, flock to Rhythm Snowsports. This savvy retailer has grown over 40 years to become a ski lover’s mecca for apparel and equipment. The key to their success? Maximizing every opportunity they have with their customers by leveraging RFID technology.

The challenge: managing a mountain of inventory

For fashion retailers with seasonal spikes in sales, taking inventory is costly, highly time-intensive and ridden with errors. As a result, these retailers lose sales through poor customer experience and theft which they don't discover until it's too late. 

As a relatively small retailer, Rhythm Snowsports stocks a huge, high-value inventory with a very short sales season. Their entire operation is designed to provide customers with a convenient buying experience; customers can buy in-store and online, with the store open 24 hours a day during peak ski season. 

Store operations quickly identified RFID technology as the best solution that could address all of the operational issues they were experiencing. To implement RFID, Rhythm Snowsports harnessed Avery Dennison’s RFID label technology with Ramp RFID, a company that provides RFID software and implementation services.

Digital ID technology was deployed in phases, starting with ski-gloves, before scaling across the entire inventory. As some inventory from the major brands arrived pre-tagged, implementation was seamless and easy. With one scan, these products were added to the master inventory list. 

The combination provided the retailer access to data on individual items, giving them full and accurate visibility of their inventory at all times. Doing so allowed Rhythm Snowsports to master inventory management, support loss prevention, and navigate resource challenges.

“We needed to solve multiple issues, a security problem, an inventory control problem, and dispatching for online orders,”

Naomi Nevin

E-commerce manager, at Rhythm Snowsports

Retail Store snow sports footwear

Streamlining productivity

By using RFID, the time-intensive annual task of taking inventory became fast and seamless, allowing it to occur on an on-going basis. The previous week-long annual stocktake process requiring up to 15 staff members became a routine task the team performs in 10 minutes or less by breaking down the stocktake process into more manageable tasks via product type. In the aggregate, this was a game changer for productivity, saving multiple team members months of work and reducing room for human error and increased labor costs.

"We can quickly walk around and scan thousands of products and almost instantaneously gain accurate inventory information," said Nevin.

Supercharging customer experiences

The ability to quickly locate and dispatch items has improved customer experience. Snowsports lovers can find their favorite items online and quickly pick them up in-store at any time of the day and night before hitting the slopes. With accurate inventory information available at all times, Rhythm Snowsports can fulfill orders online or in-store seamlessly, allowing them to take their omnichannel strategy to the next level. This was crucial for a retailer whose location demands maximizing every customer interaction to ensure satisfaction and sales.

Safeguarding the brand and its assets  

Loss Prevention has also become more effective both in-store and online. In-store, RFID technology adds another layer of defense to the existing security framework, enabling staff to know precisely which items have left the store and approach potential theft incidents with confidence and specificity. Furthermore, if a product gets stolen from a store the personnel knows exactly what has been taken. That item can immediately be replenished from the stockroom, meaning the sales opportunity is not lost. This loss prevention strategy extends to online sales. 

“Now, when a customer calls to say an item is missing from an online order we can track whether a product has been ‘detagged’ as part of the dispatch process. If it has, we know it has been sent, and if it hasn’t we know it is missing,” added Nevin.

A tailored solution designed to meet the specific needs of any business.

With the successful implementation of RFID, Rhythm Snowsports is now looking for additional ways the technology can enhance customer experience, including self-checkout systems and enhanced in-store experiences to mirror the convenience of online shopping.

Avery Dennison’s digital IDs and its source tagging capabilities, combined with Ramp’s RFID solutions at Rhythm Snowsports, demonstrate the accessibility and relevance of advanced digital identification for retailers at every scale, and across every channel. For a retailer that must capitalize on the limited time and fleeting opportunities they have with each customer, the additional capabilities it brings to the team and operation are invaluable.