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Has RFID Finally Found Its Place in Retail?

RFID technology is finally taking off in retail—in fact, it's being put to use in a variety of ways, some of which might just surprise you.
By Darya Shmat

Taking Convenience to a Whole New Level
Interestingly enough, while retailers in North America use radio frequency technology to stop people from taking goods when nobody's looking, Japanese retailers are happy to use RFID to help them do so. No less than five convenience store chains in Japan (including 7-Eleven) are ready to implement an RFID self-checkout system for all products by 2025.

When used for automated checkouts, RFID solutions are able to detect shoppers' purchases (without the need for individual item scanning), display the total to pay and then record their payment by cash or card, before finally issuing a receipt. The entire checkout process takes place within just a few moments and with no intervention from the sales staff.

Who Needs Cash When You Can Pay by Radio?
The new solution in Japan might not represent the self-checkout utopia of the future, since shoppers must still present their purchases at an automated counter, and there's no seamless, over-the-air digital payment process. Yet for consumers, it's still a huge step forward from lining up and waiting for items to be scanned individually.

As self-checkout adoption increases, it's hardly stretching the imagination to assume that before long, dynamic price tallying and cashless payment processes will mean shoppers won't need to go near a physical checkout counter or pay station. In fact, they probably won't be able to find such a thing even if they wanted to.

Is Your Retail Business Ready for RFID?
When considering RFID implementation, most retailers naturally think first about inventory visibility and management in the supply chain, in the stock room and on the sales floor. It's becoming apparent, though, that after many years in the shadows, RFID is ready for retail and offers advantages in security, customer service, omnichannel distribution management and in-store payments.

Will your retail enterprise be implementing RFID technology anytime soon—and, if so, what applications appeal the most? Do you see tagging as a good way to beat counterfeiting, or would you worry about the risk of cloned tags?

Darya Shmat is a business-development representative at Iflexion, where she expertly applies 10-plus years of practical experience to help banking and financial industry clients find the right development or QA solution.

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