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Pacsun plans in-store RFID rollout in summer ‘24

For the past six months, the teen apparel and accessories retailer has been integrating RFID technology into its Manhattan Associates Active Omni store inventory solution at 50 stores.

Pacsun intends to build upon a current pilot of RFID technology in its stores.

For the past six months, the teen apparel and accessories retailer has been integrating RFID technology into its Manhattan Associates Active Omni store inventory solution at 50 stores.

In an interview with Chain Store Age at the Manhattan Associates Momentum 2024 conference in San Antonio, Shirley Gao, chief digital and information officer, explained how Pacsun utilizes RFID in its brick-and-mortar stores.

[Read more: Pacsun implementing RFID at store level]

“Every Monday morning, store employees do the cycle count and then we compare
what they count to what our ERP system says we have in stock. We compare the
variances and make an adjustment if it’s too high or too low.”

According to Gao, RFID-based cycle counting enables store associates to capture new arrivals or items they may have previously missed with a manual count, leading to enhanced accuracy of store inventory tracking. In addition, she said RFID helps Pacsun locate missing products in stores.

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Shirley Gao
Shirley Gao, chief digital and information officer, Pacsun

“You can use the ‘Geiger’ mode on the RFID scanner to automatically locate an item needed to fulfill an order from the store,” said Gao. “There is also a new feature for an associate on the floor to find items in the back room that are not on the shelf, such as a different size or color of an item on display. This makes sure you can present your store inventory to customers at close to 100%.”

During a session at the conference, Gao explained more benefits Pacsun has been obtaining from its in-store RFID pilot.

“RFID is like a magic wand we can wave to see if an item is in stock,” she said. “Previously, it could take up to a day to determine if an item was on the shelf or in the back room. There would be unopened boxes of products in stores. In one store test, within 30 minutes we found 30 styles that had been turning up in the inventory.”

Although RFID is not a new technology, Gao said changes such as more efficient antennae are turning it into a “game changer” for retail. Beyond increased inventory accuracy and effectiveness, she cited another important benefit for store operations.

“Associates are given more time to devote to customer service,” she said.

Pacsun leverages Manhattan Associates for inventory curation

Pacsun also uses the cloud-based Manhattan Associates Active Omni unified commerce platform to enable fulfillment of online orders from stores as well as distribution centers. In addition, Gao discussed with Chain Store Age how the retailer leverages Active Omni to create curated inventory assortments for specific digital partners, including Amazon and Instagram.

“With Manhattan Associates Active Omni APIs, we can show available Pacsun inventory from specific assortments for customers to order through the partner’s site,” she said. “The order is then sent to a Pacsun store for fulfillment.” Orders are packed at a Pacsun store for delivery by a third-party provider, such as Amazon or FedEx.

Other benefits Manhattan Associates Active Omni provides Pacsun include curation of inventory, which includes both private label and national brand products, for specific channels and markets.

“There are certain national brands that we don't have the license to sell in every market,” said Gao. “Manhattan Associates allows us to perform decentralized inventory management, so the appropriate products are sold through via appropriate channels and markets.”

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