Also, the retail giant will continue to conduct RFID tests at the item level as part of its "smart shelf" pilot system, he said. This system automatically informs staff to replenish select merchandise. RFID tags are attached to packages of razor blades from The Gillette Co., containers of Philadelphia cream cheese from Kraft Foods North America Inc. and plastic bottles of shampoo from Procter & Gamble Co. As customers remove the tagged products from the shelves, signals are transmitted via the wireless network to the merchandise management system, which tracks the number in stock and issues alerts to clerks carrying PDAs (personal digital assistants).
Deactivators located at the store exit currently enable shoppers to erase the product code stored in the RFID tag but not the chip's serial number, according to Truchsess. "We aim to be the first in the industry to provide an RFID deactivation systems that erases both the product code number and serial number," he said. "We plan to have this system ready to go by the middle of the year."
Metro, in Düsseldorf, Germany, owns and operates more than 2,300 wholesale stores, supermarkets, department stores and specialty retailers, such as consumer electronics stores, mainly in Germany and the rest of Europe.