"Using RFID technology we aim to further optimise our supply chain processes in the interest of both our customers and our employees,” is how Thorsten Rolfes, company spokesperson of C&A, explained the company’s objective.
RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification and is a technology that is used to identify items without having to come into direct contact with them and without barcodes having to be scanned. RFID is already being utilised in many ways in everyday life, including in the remote operation of central locking systems for cars or to check ski passes.
“The aim is for RFID to further improve the offer in our shops,” according to Rolfes. “The main priority is that our collections can be made available to customers in the different colours and sizes required.” For this purpose RFID labels will be attached onto the outside of selected items of clothing so they are clearly visible. They are the size of a normal price tag and are attached to the goods with plastic string. After purchase they can be simply removed at any time by the customer.
The label serves as a so-called transponder. When it is located by a reading device, a fast identification of goods is possible, for example without unnecessarily opening boxes.
“Even though RFID is more and more widely used, we fully understand that our customers may have questions about the project,” Rolfes explains. For this reason we are providing posters and leaflets in our shops to explain the technology. In addition, C&A employees are available in stores to answer any questions customers may have.
“It goes without saying that all relevant laws, standards and recommendations are being adhered to regarding RFID on a German and European level,” says Rolfes in conclusion. The RFID project at C&A is not used to collect any personal data.
Prevention of the improper collection of RFID data by third parties is also guaranteed by the fact that RFID labels can be removed by the customer after purchase. “We are currently testing different technical solutions, which rule out customer data being collected in conjunction with RFID,” confirms Rolfes. “There will only be a nationwide RFID launch in German C&A shops once we can guarantee our consumers absolute RFID data security.”
The transponder labels pose no health risk. The data is transmitted by electromagnetic fields, the upper limits of which have been specified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and are classified as harmless.