American Apparel’s business model is usually innovative, from its fair-labor factories in Los Angeles to the organic cotton tube socks it offers the hipster masses. Now the clothing retailer is applying that cutting-edge attitude to its inventory system, as one of the first retailers to roll out RFID tracking at the item-level.
With a system designed by Vue Technology (combining elements from Avery Dennison, Motorola, and TrueVue) American Apparel can track individual items as they are tagged at the company’s L.A. factory, received in its retail stores, stored in store stock rooms, and then placed onto the sales floor and ultimately sold at the point-of-sale. Store personnel use fixed and hand-held readers to track inventory, speeding restocking and greatly improving the speed and accuracy of their weekly inventory processes.
The initial system roll-out took place at the company’s Columbia University location in New York City. The plan is to implement the RFID inventory system across each of 17 stores in the New York metropolitan area over the next three months, with plans to eventually deploy it in an additional 120 North American locations.