VeriSign Buys Retail Solutions

The $24 million deal pushes VeriSign squarely into delivering point-of-sale data, which is gathered at cash registers when customers pay for merchandise at stores.
Tying the POS with EPC data embedded in RFID tags on cases and pallets of products will give consumer goods companies visibility into when well-timed promotional items, from razors to shaving cream, and advertising displays are brought from back storerooms at retailers and onto store floors. When the products are sold, the POS data is cross-checked against the RFID/EPC data.

For example, Gillette Co., an early adopter and participant in RFID supply chain projects with retail stores, is working with peers at other consumer goods companies and retailers to develop a real-time inventory system for promotional items. (VeriSign is not involved in this particular project.)

Triggered by EPC/RFID data, a trigger would alert a stock clerk or store manager via a handheld, for example, that products or promotional displays must move to the store floor. "This holiday season, Gillette will be partnering with a retailer to tag and track time-sensitive promotional displays," said Dick Cantwell, vice president of Global Value Chain for EPC and Retail Availability at Gillette. "These promotional displays must be placed on the floor to hit key dates that are tied to advertising plans. In this pilot, the EPC system will generate alerts that will trigger store associates to take action."

The process also is expected to stop a practice known as diversion used by some retailers. This is where a retail store will divert a scheduled shipment from one location to another, making it difficult for the consumer goods company to track where products are ultimately sold. The information is only relevant if the retail store and consumer goods company can cross-check it against point-of-sale data when the products are scanned at the check-out register to determine the exact quantity of product sold on those days, said Richards.

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