Swiss outdoor brand Mammut has been deploying Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID technology to boost customer interactions and increase supply chain transparency. The technology consists of Smartrac's Smart Cosmos Enablement System and Internet of Things (IoT) platform to capture and manage data about each product, along with Smartrac's NFC tags containing chips provided by NXP Semiconductors.
Last year, Mammut sought a solution that would help it connect to its customers, according to Tim Hegglin, Mammut Sports Group AG's head of corporate communication. The solution needed to help create an ecosystem that would feature inventory visibility, he says, as well as communicate with consumers. In 2018, Hegglin reports, "We evaluated other technology solutions and chose the best one for our needs" that could be embedded in the product.
Mammut has a long history, having been founded in 1862 to provide mountaineering gear. These days, it is among the world's leading providers of products dedicated to outdoor recreation. Recently, the company decided to leverage technology to better reach the latest generation of its outdoor sports-loving customers.
Mammut says it sought to transform its point of sale to a "point of experience," and to innovative technology to bring more traffic to its stores. The company wanted a system that would not only improve visibility but allow it to engage with customers. "Mammut was looking for a convenient solution that adds value at every point in the product life cycle," says Karin Fabri, Smartrac Technology Group's marketing and communications head, "from manufacturing through retail and to the consumer."
The company also hoped to achieve greater visibility into each product and its post-sale customer journey. Traditionally, Fabri explains, retailers tend to lose sight of customers and products following purchases. "By leveraging NFC," she says, "Mammut could create a digital connection between a digital product identity and a customer identity," thereby enabling customer-loyalty programs, feedback and value-added services. Those services can include access to product information, as well as other company services, such as Mammut's digital hiking logbook and Alpine School tour offerings.
The system centers around the Smart Cosmos IoT platform and Enablement System, which allows the creation of a unique ID number for each product, then tracks the history of that item's movements throughout the supply chain, at the store and after the product is brought to a customer's home. The solution captures data related to each NFC tag read event, Fabri reports, enabling a link between that ID number and secure, product-specific data sets.
The Smart Cosmos Enablement System creates digital twins of each product by marrying the unique NFC tag ID with an item's associated metadata, Fabri explains. The data is uploaded to the Smart Cosmos IoT platform via an Internet connection, and is then made available to Mammut's IT systems.