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RFID Retail Transformation: New Ways to Manage the Costs

If there is a retail RFID genie, he's on the verge of being permanently let out of the bottle.
By Dean Frew
Aug 14, 2016

The adoption of radio frequency identification is intensifying as more and more retailers across the United States, Europe and Asia recognize how the technology is improving inventory efficiency across the supply chain.

Even though only 6 percent of apparel and footwear retailers have installed RFID systems so far, some of the most significant transformation is happening right now. The entire industry understands that the technology's ability to boost operations and enhance the customer experience is a big game-changer.

Just how big? More than 150,000 stores are anticipated to integrate the technology, using more than 30 billion tags per year during the next 10 to 15 years.

As RFID beckons, retailers are in a pitched battle against other brick-and-mortar and online competitors, using current 24-hour online fulfillment options, to eventual drop-in-on-your-lawn drone delivery.

Enhancing Physical + Digital ("Phygital") for Retail
Yet, brick-and-mortar retailing poses to boost the "phygital" world, letting consumers buy merchandise online and pick it up at the store. RFID can improve the in-store customer experience, both rivaling and complementing online shopping.

The concept is great and works well… about 80 percent of the time. Roughly 20 percent of such transactions meet with some kind of fulfillment hiccup. In extreme cases, retailers report having to tell clients that they need to wait five to nine days to receive their merchandise.

While customers click with their fingers, they'll always walk with their feet to a better experience. That is what motivates retailers to embrace RFID technology.

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