Sapati, a Brazilian shoe store located in the city of Cascavel that operates a radio frequency identification platform to test innovative experiences for customers, is completing its first year of operation and reports a 100 percent increase in its sales. The initiative is under the leadership of Vanderlei Kichel, the CEO of enterprise resource planning (ERP) company SetaDigital, which is focused on the footwear sector.
According to Kichel, consumers are enjoying the RFID experience, which streamlines sales and allows them to make a purchase within less than a minute. "The technology is cool," Kichel says, noting that Sebrae of Paraná has cited Sapati as a use case.
Tagging shoes has been one of the greatest challenges Sapati has faced, Kichel says. "Shoe factories need to send their shoes already with tags attached, to shorten the work that needs to be done at the point of sale," he explains. "In addition, if tags are put on shoes at the time of manufacture, other services can be aggregated throughout the goods-movement process, and RFID may even be employed against thefts."
The entrepreneur says he is in talks with companies in the shoe industry to deploy RFID at factory outlets. "There are some companies that can put tags on products because they are their own manufacturers and marketers"—which facilitates the control of inventory from the factory floor, for example, with tags being inserted at the point of manufacture.
According to Kichel, some Digital Arrow customers who visit Sapati end up learning about the technology and become interested in parts of the solution, such as inventory control, and ultimately acquire Sapati technology. "Fractions of the solution with other technologies, such as augmented reality, that are seen working along with RFID, also attract customer interest," he states.
Another upward trend is omnichannel retailing—which, according to Kichel, has turned into a fever. "We have about 40 customers selling in physical stores jointly with e-commerce and e-market places," he says. "Several of these companies are looking for RFID to control inventory, because it is the only technology that allows 100 percent integration between the channels."
Sapati is a laboratory used to test new technologies created by SetaDigital before they become available on the market. All sales profit is reinvested into the project. Sapati alleviates the problem of customers not knowing what they want, Kichel says, since they do not understand technology.
"With the store," Kichel explains, "we were able to assess the industry's pain, develop tools, and test and market a mature solution, ready to address bottlenecks." He adds that the company invests $1 million in innovation annually.
SetaDigital is investing 1.5 million Brazilian real ($462,000) to expand its service to Latin American countries such as Peru, Chile, Mexico and Argentina—and, later, to the United States. In these regions, according to Kichel, there are only generic software products that do not serve the end-to-end industry. The United States, he notes, has the highest per capita consumption of footwear in the world.
Created with the mission of developing and providing software and services for footwear retailers, and of contributing to the success of its customers, SetaDigital has been in the market for 10 years. The company serves more than 1,000 stores throughout Brazil.