The news this week that Procter & Gamble was ending its trial program of tagging promotional displays with EPC RFID tags for use at Wal-Mart stores is another powerful example of the disconnects that still exist in adopting RFID in the consumer goods-to-retail channel, even as it moves steadily along in other applications and sectors.
P&G acknowledges that it sent letters to its “co-packers” to end display tagging and return the tagging equipment that P&G had supplied them.” Co-packer” is a term used in the consumer packaged goods industry for a wide range of contract manufacturers and logistics service providers, which are often used in the industry to build promotional displays.
The news was in one sense surprising, as P&G and other manufacturers had seen excellent results from tagging displays to improve execution at the store. Gillette, for example, which was later acquired by P&G, in one early pilot found a 28% sales lift from EPC tagging of displays. Why? Because large retail stores are not very good at getting these displays out to the floor on the date they are scheduled and keeping them stocked.
Former P&G executive Dick Cantwell (now at Cisco), for example, told SCDigest in 2007 that he estimated complete promotional “compliance” in stores at just 45%. (See SCDigest Unplugged Interview with Procter & Gamble on RFID.)
Paul Fox, Director of Global External Relations, confirmed to SCDigest that those early findings continued to be “validated” by more recent data.
“Our work within the area of merchandising, or what you call promotional displays, has shown that use of the EPC can result in improved promotional effectiveness, increased sales, and higher shopper satisfaction,” Fox says.
(RFID and Automatic Identification Article - Continued Below)