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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.
The other part of the cost equation involves retailers purchasing RFID tags or stickers for additional trim items. The tags are either secondary tickets embedded with RFID inlays, or are in some way applied to existing brand or price tags. This dual ticketing adds to a garment's cost.
Secondary RFID stickers or tags can also detract from the presentation of garments on the store floor. The tags or stickers can cover parts of the brand logo or important consumer information, such as size or price.
Beyond that, says Linda Sarentino, PVH Corp.'s group VP of strategic services, "applying a secondary RFID sticker to a garment during the manufacturing process not only costs more money, but it also increases the chances of someone applying the wrong EPC-encoded tag to the existing printed UPC price ticket. This, in turn, could lead to inaccurate store inventory levels."
Integrated RFID Tags
Initial RFID-tagging technology was not conducive to integrating the RFID inlays into the many different and customized ticket forms commonly found on garments today. With technology advancements, tags can now be manufactured with RFID inlays embedded in a single tag of virtually any shape and graphic design, as well as all necessary variable data. This single integrated RFID tag eliminates the cost of purchasing and applying separate RFID tags or stickers, as well as the potential for obscuring the brand tag or price ticket. RFID tags can now take the form of the most stylish promotional branded tag.
Moreover, with some major tag manufacturers having expanded their operations to key locations worldwide, retailers can now order RFID tags locally, and have them produced in proximity to the point of apparel manufacture and delivered quickly. Turnaround times of 48 hours worldwide, with no annual quantity or inventory commitments, are now possible. Costs for applying RFID tags in apparel-producing locations such as China and India can range from $.007 to $.014 apiece, or about 1/10th the cost of applying them at North American retail locations.
The movement to integrated RFID tags and having them applied at the point of manufacture will further drive down item-tagging costs. This, in turn, should lead to further and more rapid adoption of RFID throughout the apparel retail industry.
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