Decathlon is a French sporting goods retailer founded by Michelle Lelek in 1976 and opened its first mall in Pudong, Shanghai in 2003. This is also the first official appearance of Decathlon in the Chinese market. Prior to this, Decathlon had already carried out some production operations in China.
Decathlon is most commendable for its entire industry chain control mode, which greatly reduces production costs and thus protects Decathlon’s competitiveness in product prices. According to official information, the Decathlon Group’s global sales in 2019 reached 12.4 billion euros, a year-on-year increase of 9%. It can be seen that Decathlon’s efficient industry chain operation mode is still exerting its power.
Using RFID technology to complete the liquidation of goods in an instant
It is understood that Decathlon has introduced RFID technology since 2013. After years of development, Decathlon has now integrated RFID technology into warehousing logistics, retail and omni-channel sales.
After visiting the mall for a long time, the reporter conducted a brief communication with the Decathlon clerk. The clerk said: “At present, all commodities in the mall use RFID tags, and the mall’s self-service settlement service is also based on RFID technology.” Customers only need to put the purchased goods into a box, they can achieve fast reading and fast checkout. Because of the advantages of RFID wireless group reading, all commodity information can be summarized in an instant, completely eliminating the process of scanning code entry of each commodity in the supermarket.
There are more than ten self-service cash register devices in the whole shopping mall. With a little attention, you can find that the complete cash register process usually takes more than ten seconds. However, because there are many older consumers in the mall, Decathlon still has three staff to provide timely guidance. Compared with the common self-service settlement services in supermarkets nowadays, Decathlon’s settlement time is significantly shortened and a lot of manpower is saved.
Decathlon staff said: “The company introduced the RFID retail system to reduce the customer’s time spent at the checkout, thereby saving customers’ shopping time and optimizing the shopping experience.”
Decathlon’s efficient supply chain management
Simplifying the cash register process does bring benefits to consumers’ shopping experience. However, it’s believed that this is not the key to Decathlon’s winning market, and the optimization of inventory and supply chain management is closer to the core of its strong competitiveness.
In order to improve the efficiency of inventory management, Decathlon combines RFID and AGV robots in the inventory process, which ultimately improves the picking work by 2 to 3 times. With the help of RFID’s flexible inventory management capabilities, timely replenishment has greatly improved the efficiency of warehousing operations. Therefore, the RFID system is the strong support behind Decathlon’s efficient supply chain.
Before using RFID, the staff needs to confirm whether the product is correct by scanning the barcode, and then enter the data. The whole process takes about 12 seconds. RFID simplified this procedure, shortened the entire process to less than 3 seconds, and greatly improved the accuracy of sorting. Although the difference between the two operations at first glance is less than 10 seconds, after the accumulation of ultra-high repetition, the time saved is very considerable.
From November 5th to 10th, 2019, Decathlon appeared at the second China International Import Expo and launched the world’s first RFID inventory intelligent robot “Dibao” at this exhibition, which attracted great attention from the industry.
It is understood that this “Dibao” robot is mainly used in physical shopping malls. By carrying RFID and artificial intelligence technology, it can realize automatic inventory of all categories of products. “Dibao” has unmanned and fully automated inventory, autonomous navigation and map scanning, and has the functions of updating electronic maps in real time. According to Decathlon’s official disclosure, it plans to promote “Dibao” to more than 200 shopping malls in China in 2020.
As the world’s largest sports and leisure goods retailer, behind Decathlon’s rapid expansion is its continuous investment in RFID technology in logistics, retail and omni-channel marketing, as well as exploration and innovation in RFID application models.
Zhang Yue, President of Decathlon Greater China, once said publicly: “Physical stores must achieve three goals of technology, relationship and experience to achieve these goals that are fun, fast and simple.” In recent years, Decathlon has spared no effort to promote RFID technology.
With the continuous development of the Internet of Things, RFID technology has gradually penetrated into all walks of life. The introduction of RFID not only improves operational efficiency, but also brings new business models and leads us into a more intelligent data era.