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Applications of RFID in Retailing – Detailed analysis

Radio Frequency Identification Device- RFID devices have numerous applications in retail including security, item-level tagging, inventory management, self-checkouts, etc.

The usage of RFID technology can help retailers to increase the shopper experience. The brick and mortar stores have adopted the RFID system as an inventory management tool.

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RFID is not a new technology, it was used during World War 2 to identify aircraft. Later so many researches are done and now almost every big retail store has adopted RFID as a part of their inventory management tool.

Matthew Friend, EVP & Chief Financial officer of Nike said that “RFID is going to drive improved inventory holding costs and it is also going to reduce our transportation costs both indirect and in wholesale.”

By the use of electromagnetic fields the RFID reader tracks the tags attached to each inventory. The RFID system means a transponder, receiver, and transmitter. The reader can trigger the tag when it comes closer to the tag. The triggered tag transmits the corresponding signal, coded data which contains the inventory details.

Usage of RFID in inventory management

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RFID System has a vital role in inventory management. Full visibility over the supply chain improves better stock management. This helps the retailers to avoid the stock shortage and overflow. The loss in inventory management can be reduced. Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty can be increased by the fast response on inventory tracking and better shopping experience. RFID handheld scanners like Denso Wave SP1 have a scanning speed of 700 scans/ second with a scanning distance of approximately 8m. This kind of RFID solution makes inventory control a hassle-free job.

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Cloud-based RFID software (RF Keeper) can track the exact location of inventory by keeping monitoring the whole supply chain process. The real-time data collection and analysis helps the retailers to find out the performance of each item separately. The in-store and online sales data can help the retailers to stock the most moving items and plan a sale according to that.

Usage of RFID in Retail Security

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RFID tags, RFID labels, EAS (Electronic Article Surveillance), and detachers are used in the retail industry for inventory security by avoiding shoplifting and internal shrinkage. The RFID antennas placed at the entrance can be triggered by the signals from the active tags affixed with an inventory. This triggering generates an alarm. The tags or labels fixed in each inventory will be removed or deactivated by the detachers at the payment counter while the customer checkout. If someone tries to take the inventory without paying the alarm at the entrance/exit will inform the security persons.

Self-checkouts and “pay as you go” are now in trend. Some retailers are using these now. In “Amazon Go”, you don’t have to wait in the queue for checkout, just adding items to your cart and walking straight to the door. Fitting room mirrors are another great innovation in RFID for retailers. The mirror can identify the item from the tag and it automatically syncs with a tracking system to provide real-time product data like stock and size availability. Researches are still going on, we can expect more applications in the near future.

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