RFID Technology Can Help to Eliminate Queues at Stores

By Marcos Honda

As the post-pandemic world undergoes major transformations, deployments of radio frequency identification technologies may become even more necessary.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many changes in our daily lives. By taking the opportunity to implement radio frequency identification technologies, retailers can eliminate queues and agglomerations within their stores, thereby avoiding the risks caused by the coronavirus. The outbreak has increased drastically in recent weeks. Because of this, we are always reminded to follow safety recommendations to avoid a further spread of the disease.

Commerce is considered essential, especially for supermarkets, and this has required major adjustments to make sure all customers remain safe. Social distancing has become a reality, but there are still scenarios in which it is not possible to avoid contact with other people, such as with customers and cashiers. At some establishments, queues have become a major problem, since the need for essential items has greatly increased due to our not knowing what tomorrow will be like.

Surveys have shown that sales at supermarkets have increased by 10 percent amid the pandemic. RFID technology has been a great ally in preventing congested queues, and in many places it has become prominent. Retailers should take advantage of the technology and start using it at their stores now. With RFID, customers can make purchases without having to proceed to a cashier. The most common use of RFID right now involves self-checkout terminals at which customers can make their own purchases via an RFID reader.

In addition, customers can read products directly on their cell phones via an NFC reader, then finalize their purchases directly on their devices. Once this is done, the tags on all products bought are automatically deactivated, thereby confirming the purchase. By means of RFID, customers can make an entire purchase without contact, without queues and in a totally secure manner. The world after the pandemic will undergo major changes, and the deployment of RFID may become even more necessary.

For customers, technology brings faster day-to-day transactions and greater security, as it prevents long lines at commercial establishments. For retailers, in addition to protecting shoppers within their stores, RFID also allows for complete inventory control—an important area at any company. RFID makes it possible to know, in a quick and practical way, which products have been removed, which ones require replacement and which goods are the most sold. Through radio waves, a retailer can obtain a complete report regarding all of its inventory.

Online sales have seen a sharp increase due to the pandemic, and RFID can be useful in this area as well, for each time an online purchase is made, the technology adjusts stock levels accordingly. As you can see, RFID could become a necessity for large retailers, while bringing greater security to customers.

Marcos Honda is the director of Acura, a company specialized in RFID technology.