Pre-Ticketing: Why Retailers are making the switch and measurable criteria for selecting a Ticketing Provider
By Trisa Thompson, Marketing Manager, FineLine Technologies
Today’s retailers rely on efficient, yet complex supply chains, to keep the brick and mortar shelves and shipping centers well stocked with in-fashion, on trend merchandise. Incorrectly ticketed items can be a major stumbling block to achieve these goals, negatively affecting the bottom line. To address these challenges many retailers are source-tagging their merchandise - to enhance tracking and inventory management within the supply chain, reduce re-ticketing costs, and ultimately streamline the flow of goods from manufacturer to store shelves.
Retailers sourcing products from Asia, Africa and the sub-continent can only win in the retail race, if their supply chain is established, consistent, and efficient. Not to mention, providing an accurate count and description of merchandise as it moves through the supply chain. Tagging merchandise with RFID or barcoded tickets at its production location facilities improves tracking, and inventory control as merchandise moves its way through the pipeline, to the end consumer.
Before the products get to the consumer, the retailer must be sure that they are moving the right products from DC to the right store – as quickly as possible. There are lots of checks and balances needing to happen at the DC. Human readable, scannable, retail tickets that include the correct price are basic requirements. Delays in any of these areas can cause slowdown in the delivery of products to shelves. Which is problematic in this fast fashion retail, where a season has become too long a period. Many retailers are seeing fashion trends as short as 2 weeks – this requires a rapid replenishment pipeline – that cannot be slowed by inaccurate or poorly printed price tickets.
Source-ticketing can save time and labor costs, versus ticketing at the store. Accurately ticketed items can flow through the supply chain by simply being read, by overhead or handheld barcode scanners. Many retailers have found that tagging (including using RFID tickets) allows a larger number of items to be scanned in a shorter timeframe, with less human intervention. Reducing the potential for human errors and miscounting.
Enhancing the global ticketing supply chain is possible with source-tagging. Retailers have seen the benefits of pre-ticketing including increased visibility of location, quantity and forecast planning for merchandise that is still in the supply chain. However, selecting the right ticketing provider also plays a major role in the success of a pre-ticketing program.
Ticketing providers need to be flexible, fast, have the capacity to handle large volumes of data in a short timeframe and provide customization to ticketing rules - as necessary.
Many retailers are separating their trim items such as care labels, zippers etc. from ticketing, and tagging merchandise at the source, to achieve the flexibility necessary to keep merchandise flowing to shelves. Rather than being bogged down with issues related to trim, retailers are streamlining ticketing production to companies that specialize. If a product does not have a price ticket or has an incorrect price, this could mean loss of sales for the retailer and discourage the consumer from taking the extra steps to identify the costs of the merchandise.
Asking service bureau providers to present analytics driven from REAL order processing data is often met with “let us look into that”. In today’s fast-paced, fast-fashion supply chain – retailers and their suppliers must be empowered with the visibility to make decisions based on real time analytics. Ticketing providers have the burden of proof when it comes to their ability to meet ex-factory dates.
Price tickets contain lots of data: size, price, color, season, COO, and that volume increases if the ticket is RFID enabled. Retailers should be asking “Can the service bureau handle and make quick changes to the large volume of data that is required for price tickets?” Chose a provider that has business rules built in to handle large volume of merchandise data, and can quickly convert that data into ticketing information, delivering tickets in less than 3 days.
Pre-ticketing to enhance the flow of goods through the supply chain is has been helping to position retailers as market and fashion leaders. Simply because they have a flexible, fast and streamlined supply chain, including retail price tickets.