The Transformative Power of RFID in Retail
Technology Leading to Innovation
RFID is undoubtedly one of the most transformative technologies with uses that stretch far and wide across many fields. We have all been using RFID in an NFC (near-field communication) capacity for years to get into hotel rooms and restricted areas in which a key fob must be scanned on an NFC reader to gain access. RFID popularly uses radio waves in larger spaces to gain inventory of items, from livestock to household goods in fractions of the time it would take with legacy barcode scanner systems. RFID is also used widely in tracking vehicles such as special toll lanes, and in racing many different vehicles. If you know what to look for, you may find more RFID antennas around places than you would think, performing numerous duties often providing valuable information along the way.
Moving into innovation alone is often daunting and with many options and technologies out there, it is helpful to have partners that have traveled that journey many times before. RFID has the potential to transform retail and other spaces in order to enrich the experience of management, workers, and customers and provide priceless insights informing upper management with exciting new metrics. Zone24x7 has innovation experts versed in RFID technology to help transform any retail space and bring exciting changes to your organization.
(Figure 01: Common NFC usage of RFID in wide use for decades successfully)
RFID can provide a myriad of interesting avenues for innovation in the retail store setting. Working down from the management side of things, RFID can provide great insights much like vehicle tracking in one use case. The placement of a strong RFID tag placed into the name tag of associates along with antennas strategically placed around your store can provide location tracking of associates while on sales floors or back rooms. This can provide insights into associates’ job performance metrics and allow management to have a potential heat map of hot selling zones by using location data of stocking associates or customer-facing associates for instance to get some interesting views as to when and why certain regions of sales floors are of particular interest.
Associates can also receive benefits in a larger retail environment with harder-to-find inventory with the use of location data in real-time RFID inventory management. This can give associates the benefit of knowing exactly where a certain product may be based on a customized Warehouse management system communicating with associates with an app on a phone for instance. Considering retail environments are getting larger, location data can save employees time in many facets of their job. Another key benefit to point out here is with increased product inventory visibility, management can make more informed decisions based on sales metrics and inventory levels to formulate plans for retail floor optimization among other great ways to maximize business.
With the ability of RFID to provide an inventory of many products quickly the potential of checking out in bulk is a great upside with RFID adoption as well as providing both management and customers valuable time saving while streamlining one of the more cumbersome parts of the retail process, checkout. The idea is to use RFID antennas an entire cart full of goods can be scanned in a matter of seconds. At Zone24x7, we envision a scenario where a customer can shop for as many goods as they need and check out in seconds without ever even taking a form of payment out, but instead using a combination of strong antennas to scan and NFC chip readers to read some sort of mobile payment.
One of the more exciting avenues for RFID implementation in retail lies in an unconventional path which is customer interaction and engagement. RFID has the potential to bring new and fun paths for increased customer satisfaction within your retail space. Using an RFID tag embedded in a customer’s loyalty card can trigger exclusive events and information highly targeted to the customer based on their shopping history or preferences. You can also integrate this technology in a way that customers can interact based on positioning in a store or actions made by the customer. One way this can be realized is within a fitting room for instance. With the use of RFID tags and RFID-capable smart mirrors, customers can have new insights on products or sizing/color options. While this provides an interesting avenue to enrich the customer experience, these items can grant management a new ability to track their customers and shopping habits in general while providing meaningful information on product optimization and new development.
Typically security has been dealt with using different technologies in retail environments, but with increased adoption of RFID, this can provide another way to monitor loss prevention and reduce shrink in retail. The final vein we will tap here is the authenticity of goods. Because often RFID tags are built into products or clothing items retailers can verify that what they are receiving is of authentic quality using security protocols built into RFID. Zone24x7 has extensive experience with innovation in retail and has worked with top retailers in the USA to prove concepts and provide concrete improvements in verifiable metrics. With a trusted innovation partner equipped with RFID expertise, retailers can have faith that RFID is attainable and efficient.
Paving a New Path
RFID can pave the way for innovations in many channels of retail with more innovation coming seemingly by the day as RFID innovation is expanding quickly. From managerial decision-making to customer interaction RFID can expand and bolster your retail space going forward. Zone24x7 is a proven innovation partner that can help research and implement new innovation pathways to future-proof any retail space.