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Through the Trough of Disillusionment

Barriers to the adoption of radio frequency identification technologies are disappearing.
By Narges Kasiri, Gerd Wolfram and G. Scott Erickson

• Gain your competitive advantage.
Retailers can move ahead of the competition when they distinguish themselves by adopting advanced operational technologies. For leading retailers, being the first to adopt a technology is a goal for which they can make a business case to their shareholders. On the other hand, other retailers just follow the leading 5 percent. When those leading retailers announce RFID implementations, other retailers then consider them a safe and proven example to follow.

Eliminating friction points between customers and retailers, and keeping customers happy and sales up: that's exactly why retailers should turn to RFID. With everything from inventory tracking to smart mirrors, RFID enables unique solutions to everyday retail problems. It's clear that the business benefits of RFID are plentiful. It can streamline highly manual and labor-intensive processes in warehouses and in-store for picking, packing and receiving by retailers, achieving 99.95 percent inventory accuracy. Retailers enjoy decreased stock-outs, increased sales, real-time accurate visibility and a better customer experience.

RFID awareness and education, however, are still needed to inform retailers about different ways to adopt the technology. Some retailers, for example, have recognized how partial technology implementations (tags and handheld readers without mounting antennas and readers) can bring the majority of valuable benefits to stores. Retailers did encounter many problems: missing tags, tag-reading errors, high implementation costs, constrained flexibility and scalability of RFID solutions, budget overruns, and supplier cooperation, among others. Many of these issues have been resolved. There is now no good reason not to adopt RFID.

Dr. Narges Kasiri is an associate professor of management and a Fulbright Scholar at Ithaca College, in New York. She has been conducting research on RFID in retail for more than 10 years and has published and presented her work at national and international conferences. Her research interests are RFID adoption and post-adoption in retail, cost-benefit analysis of RFID, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Dr. Kasiri holds a Ph.D. degree in management science and information systems from Oklahoma State University.

Dr. Gerd Wolfram is the founder and CEO of IoT Innovation & Consult. He has more than 30 years of experience in IT in an international retail company and is currently working in IoT technology and RFID areas. He is a long-lasting member of national and international committees of GS1 to standardize retail logistics and supply chain processes, a board member of the Business Committee of Standards, and a board member of the EPCglobal Board of Governors (for the standardization of RFID and EPC technologies and applications). He holds a Ph.D. degree from the University of Cologne and is a lecturer of IUBH Bad Honnef on IT architecture and new technologies. To learn more about Dr. Wolfram's activities, visit his company's website.

Dr. G. Scott Erickson is a professor and chair of marketing in Ithaca College's School of Business. He holds a Ph.D. degree from Lehigh University and has been published widely on big data, knowledge management and competitive intelligence. His most recent book, New Methods in Marketing Research and Analysis, was published by Edward Elgar in late 2017, and was written while he was serving as a Fulbright-National Science Foundation Arctic Scholar in Akureyri, Iceland.

The authors would like to thank the Fulbright Foundation for partially funding this research.

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