RFID: The Future of Retail?

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is driving the retail sector, quickly replacing old barcodes and influencing every stage of the retail market from supply chain management to customer experience.

With RFID, all products are tagged allowing businesses and customers to track items when in transit. This means, products will no longer be missing and retailers can understand exactly where their stock is in real time, and when deliveries can be expected to arrive. RFID can set alerts for out-of-stock items, giving retailers the capability to analyse what products are popular and what needs re-ordering in which stores. This will be much more accurate than old manual stock counting processes which are prone to human error and more importantly, is out of date almost instantly; as soon as 1 sale goes through.

In-store staff can use hand-held scanners to quickly scan a product and find information such as stock levels and locate where the customer can find the item and order it to be delivered instantly. It will show similar products in addition to what other people have bought who also bought this item, making it easier for in-store staff to upsell, increasing total store sales!

Customers can search to find their product online or in their nearest store easily using  RFID technology. It also allows faster check-out in store, reducing the wait time at the till which will ultimately, allow people to pay for products automatically with the development of mobile payment. This benefit should not be overlooked; consumers are getting more demanding and they do not want to queue, especially with the ongoing challenge online shopping poses to physical stores – why would consumers queue when they could order online easily and have the product delivered to them? Anything to improve the in-store experience needs to be embraced by retailers.

Following my previous article on automotive retail, and with the ongoing developments in technology including robotics; RIFD is another example of the digital developments shaping the future retail market. RFID will help manage stock in stores and when an online order goes through, retailers can track where the stock is currently stored, and the item closest to the delivery address will be dispatched. This will reduce shipping costs and result in faster delivery processes.

RFID offers efficiency to both retailers and customers; enhances the guest experience; improves stock management and supports an omni-channel approach. A new degree of visibility is available to retailers which equip them with detailed information to make their future strategy seamless.

Kat Whitehead, Senior Marketing Executive, Foundation Recruitment

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