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Target Announces Nationwide RFID Rollout

The retailer is deploying item-level RFID-tagging for women's, baby and children's apparel, home décor and other key merchandise categories, at a dozen stores this year, and at all 1,795 of its U.S. stores in 2016.
By Claire Swedberg

Target has already conducted testing of item-level EPC UHF RFID technology leading to this rollout, Baeb says, though there is much that the company does not want to disclose at this point in time. This includes the makes and models of RFID hardware and software being used with the rollout, as well as the integration companies with which it is working.

For the rollout, product suppliers will attach price tags with integrated RFID inlays to merchandise at the point of manufacture, in the same manner that they previously used to attach price tags. "You probably wouldn't notice these new RFID tags on your own, necessarily, but that's the point," Jones wrote.

"Initially, we'll use only handheld readers," Baeb says (rather than fixed reader portals, for instance). Employees will then utilize those handhelds in stores to perform inventory checks, as well as to assist in the fulfillment of customer orders for products purchased on Target's website for pick-up by those shoppers at the store.

"Target has declared significant investments in our supply chain and technology infrastructure, including $1 billion in 2015," Baeb states. "Our push to adopt item-level RFID inventory management is a component of that investment, and also supports our omnichannel supply chain initiatives."

Target is serving as a sponsor of the RFID Lab at Auburn University, which is opening its new facility today, and which Jones indicated was an example of the company's commitment to RFID technology. "Together with the staff and students at Auburn," she wrote, "we'll explore additional ways that RFID tags can enhance the shopping experience."

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