RFID Adoption in Retail Gains Momentum

By Mark Roberti

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the number of retailers deploying RFID solutions is accelerating.

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The retail sector is clearly following the technology adoption life cycle explained by Geoffrey Moore in his book Crossing the Chasm. Marks & Spencer, Macy’s and other early adopters have proven the benefits of using RFID, and now more retailers are following their lead.

RFID Journal is seeing an increase in the number of retailers subscribing to our retail newsletter. Another noteworthy trend is the increasing number of companies that provide labels for clothing manufacturers signing up for that newsletter. As retailers ask their apparel suppliers to tag clothing, the clothing label suppliers are no doubt being asked to integrate RFID into their labels. This is important, because adoption cannot reach critical mass until apparel is tagged at the source.

Moreover, since the beginning of the year, RFID Journal has published 15 news stories on the use of RFID in retail. That compares with six articles during the same time in 2015. The retailers featured in the 2016 articles are from the United States, Europe, Asia and South America. And while all the solutions are based on solving a common problem—inventory inaccuracy, which results in lost sales—some retailers are also using RFID to improve customer service and achieve other benefits.

Retail Articles in 2016

Gieves & Hawkes Installs RFID to Prevent Shrinkage, Track Inventory
The men’s clothing retailer has deployed RFID at its store in Birmingham, England, and is implementing the solution at its newest store in Hackney, an East London borough.

American Apparel, Postmates Use RFID Visibility for On-Demand Delivery
Postmates is offering one-hour delivery of the clothing company’s products in 31 cities, using RFID data that tells shoppers which goods are available within their geographical area.

Retailer Uses RFID, Social Media and Cameras to Track Shopper Behavior
ISA Fashion Boutique, a seller of international luxury brands in Hong Kong, China and Macau, has deployed an RFID inventory-management system.

Publix Plans to Automate Specialty Drug Management Via RFID
The U.S. supermarket chain, which has 980 pharmacy locations, is implementing a drug-management system that will let pharmacists automatically track high-value, low-volume specialty medications on consignment.

Reebok, Music Festival Reach Out to Visitors With iGotcha RFID Solution
Athletic footwear and apparel company Reebok is using an RFID solution to display product information to visitors at its Innovation Showroom.

SportLife Tracks Athletic Shoes, Apparel
The Colombian retailer of athletic shoes, apparel and equipment deployed an RFID system at its 38 stores and its distribution center, to reduce labor costs and out-of-stocks.

RFID Brings Customer Shipments into Focus for Eyewear Company
Norwegian online eyewear company Extra Optical is piloting an RFID shipping solution to automatically track every pair of glasses it ships to customers, and to trigger a notification to each customer when his or her shipment is about to be delivered to that person’s home or office.

Singapore Fashion Company Adopts RFID to Be on the Cutting Edge
Decks is RFID-tagging all its merchandise at the source, and is using the technology to expedite inventory counts and sales transactions, with the goal of boosting sales and attracting and retaining employees.

C&A Rolls Out RFID to All of Its French Stores
The apparel company is expanding its RFID deployment to 164 sites, to boost sales by improving the availability of items on shelves.

Japanese Retailer Aeon Checks Out Checkpoint’s RFID-enabled Robot
The general-merchandise chain Aeon Retail is piloting an RFID-enabled robot to track inventory at its flagship store in Chiba, and is rolling out an RFID-based electronic article surveillance system.

German Clothing Retailer Adler Gives RFID Robots a Spin
Adler Modemärkte is using an RFID-enabled robot at its store in the city of Erfurt and a store at its corporate headquarters in Haibach, to count inventory and identify the locations of merchandise on store shelves each day.

Macy’s Launches Pick to the Last Unit Program for Omnichannel Sales
The retailer’s confidence in its RFID-based inventory data enables the company to list goods for sale online even when there is only one such item available at the store. In the past, inventory counts were simply not precise enough to ensure that a particular product was actually in stock and available for sale.

Rebecca Minkoff Adds RFID to More Stores, Boosts Sales
The high-end fashion retailer is now using RFID at its stores in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, to improve customer service.

RFID Pops Up in Mobile Interactive Stores
ShopWithMe pop-up stores are visiting cities and selling merchandise via RFID technology that displays product information automatically when a shopper picks up a product and tries it on in a fitting room. It also streamlines the purchase process.

G-Star RAW Store Finds Many Uses for RFID
The RFID solution deployed at G-Star’s New York store tracks inventory, manages sales transactions and security, and improves customer service.