2021 ECR Research Study Updates

by Colin Peacock

Total Retail Loss

2021 New ECR Research Pipeline

Detailed below is a description of the current ECR research studies together with expected publication timings.

The Impact of DC Pick Accuracy

This research, which is being led by Professor Janet Godsell from Warwick Business School aims to identify how DC Pick Accuracy is measured, prioritised by management and its relationship with store inventory record inaccuracy. The research is based upon insights from several case study retailers from the grocery sector. The final report will include practical recommendations for organisations looking to improve record accuracy across their businesses.

Publication Date: Spring/early Summer 2021

Understanding the True Cost of Food Waste

There has been a significant improvement in recent years in how food waste across retail businesses is measured, with standards now established on methods to help quantify the financial value of the loss, the overall weight in tonnes, the cost in terms of CO2 emissions, and even equivalence indicators such as the number of consumer meals it represents. However, there has been much less attention focused upon the cost of managing the surplus food that is ‘wasted’ out of the business, be that through price markdowns, charity donations, re-purposing, animal feed, etc. This research is seeking to explore and then quantify the full cost of managing food surplus and waste. It is adopting a case study approach with five retailers sharing their data together with an online survey. The academic lead is Professor Lisa Jack from the University of Portsmouth. As part of the study, she will develop a true cost of food waste model. 

Publication Date: Summer 2021

Making the Most of RFID: Capturing Innovative Use Cases in Retailing

This research builds upon the joint ECR/GS1 research completed in 2018 that documented the case study learnings and results from ten retailers who were primarily using RFID to count inventory in their stores using a handheld reader. In this new study, Professor Adrian Beck is exploring how retailers have been using RFID beyond these use cases, including in retail supply chains and e-commerce. Using retailer interviews and an online survey, the report will share some of the ways in which unique product identification is being utilised in retail organisations to add value.

Publication Date: Early Summer 2021

Predicting Online Retail Returns

Research by ECR in 2018 highlighted the enormous growth in product returns from online sales, which in some categories can be in excess of 25%, and the importance of understanding the true cost of managing them. This new research, based upon shopper interviews and in-depth analysis of retail data, aims to develop a modelling tool to help retailers better predict future product return rates, including those that are fraudulent. The research is being led by Dr Regina Frei from the University of Southampton.

Publication Date: Early 2022

Evaluating the Control of Self-checkout Losses: A Detailed Assessment of Current Approaches

This new research, the fourth study by ECR on self-checkout technologies in retailing, is focussed upon an extensive and wide-ranging review of the various ways in which retail organisations are trying to manage the losses associated with these systems. Through retail case studies, online surveys of retailers and self-checkout supervisory staff, and interviews with retail practitioners and technology providers, the study will evaluate the impact of a range of interventions based upon technologies, design, processes, and people. The research is being undertaken by Professor Adrian Beck from the University of Leicester.

Publication Date: Late 2021, early 2022


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