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Putting a Stylish Face on RFID Tags

By adopting integrated RFID hangtags, the apparel industry can achieve an attractive branded look and lower tagging costs.
By George Hoffman
May 10, 2015

The apparel industry is embracing radio frequency identification with perhaps more ardor than any other sector. Its nearly endless host of stock-keeping units (SKUs), combined with rapid item turnover at the retail level, make apparel inventories notoriously difficult to manage. RFID offers a solution, but one that traditionally involved some undesirable tradeoffs in terms of tagging costs, minimum order requirements and unattractive additional Electronic Product Code (EPC) item tags.

But that is now changing.

Advancements in RFID tag production, and the technology's deployment to strategically located tag-manufacturing facilities worldwide, are enabling apparel retailers to implement RFID at less cost and in ways that support their brand imaging. Here's how:

Retailers typically begin their RFID initiatives by testing a system at stores where the environment can be tightly controlled. Initial evaluations concentrate on hardware and software selection, as well as their integration into the existing infrastructure.

Secondary RFID tickets and stickers (left) can detract from brand image. Fashion brands and retailers can achieve an attractive branded look by opting for integrated RFID hangtags (right). (Photos courtesy of FineLine Technologies)
As retailers move from evaluation to implementation, their attention shifts to operating costs. They soon learn that item-level tagging's two major cost components are the purchase of RFID tags or stickers and the labor required to apply them.

During initial RFID trials, sales associates or stock-room personnel are usually assigned the task of applying RFID tags to garments. These employee costs can range anywhere from $.06 to $0.12 per item.

Such store tagging is not sustainable over the long term, nor is it a good use of personnel. The long-term cost-effective solution, just like with traditional price ticketing, is to have vendors tag the garments farther up the supply chain, where it can be done much more cost-efficiently.


Fabien Dufour 2015-05-20 07:41:44 PM
I like the idea and the before after picture looks very nice, but how do you overcome the mandatory price label issue and the Size indication visual aid, that helps as much the customer as the employees. When you replace the label by a tag, there may be a little challenge to provide a solution to the removal of the sometimes precious visual aid of a label (even if not 100% accurate), and I am sure this can be found in various industries. If you order, even very close, you do not have the same felxibility to change prices immediately and in the shop for example, do you? The prices you mention are for standard tags like in the picture or would it be for custom printed hanging tags ?
Bob Giuliano 2015-05-26 03:28:45 PM
The picture is a bit misleading. All the mandatory information you are referring to: size, price, etc. is printed on the reverse side of the ticket which you cannot see in the picture. If the price needs to be changed after the garment arrives at the store then you will need to apply a new price sticker the same as without RFID. The prices quoted are estimates but do include custom printed tags. I hope this helps to clarify.

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