Why 2020 is the year of RFID in the retail industry.
The major decision-makers of our times, the millennials, are driven by something called instant gratification to make their decisions. Nothing scares them more than the fear of missing out (FOMO). They want things and they want it NOW; not tomorrow, not later, but now. And when it comes to retail shopping, if a millennial walks into a retail store wanting something, which is not available in stock, then you can rest assured that the retail shop has certainly have lost that customer. So if a new dress of a famous designer comes to the market that is selling like hotcakes, then the question is not if you have one of them in stock, whether if you know where precisely that dress, at any given time and at all times.
But how do you do that? How to achieve and maintain better inventory visibility? How to make sure you never run out-of-stock? How to enable omnichannel fulfillment? How to satisfy your customers and prevent losses? Okay. That’s a lot of how’s. But do we have an answer? Yes, we do and it is called RFID.
What is RFID and why retailers need it?
To put it simply, RFID is a wireless technology that uses tiny electronic devices with a digital chip and an antenna that connects millions of items to the internet. Therefore, employing RFID enables retailers and their customers to identify, locate, authenticate, and interact with one another in unprecedented yet easier methods.
Now that we’ve understood what RFID is, let’s delve deeper into why it is going to make a lot of noise in 2020 and why as retailers you need to make the jump now more than ever.
Benefits of RFID in the retail sector
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, a customer’s interest in your brand is solely dependent on you satisfying his needs. And this type of consumer attitude is only accentuated in a cutthroat competitive place like the retail sector. That’s right; nothing could destroy your business as much as the buyer frustration and make sure you have happy customers walking out of your shops, you need RFID.
It’s all about the inventory
The main benefit of RFID in the retail sector is in tracking and uploading changes in inventory, without the need for manual work like the good old days. The technology of RFID enables retailers to access data in real-time, which helps them to monitor their inventory in a single scan. So now that you have RFID tags, you can easily start tracking and identify missing items from your stock. This will help you to reduce or even eliminate the risk of inventory waste and shrivel. Tracking also means that RFID scanners can prevent any theft of your stocks, as well.
Besides inventory management, with real-time location data, retailers can also get notified if and when a product is on the move, and if any item is misplaced. This relentless supply of information can empower the store assistants and inventory managers to take quick actions in either replenishing the stock or replacing a wrong order with the right one, thus gaining a valuable customer and their trust in your brand.
RFID for everyone
Now all I have talked about in this article is how RFID can benefit retailers. But RFID is much more about just empowering retailers, it creates a wonderful working network between the three primary entities of the retail sectors – retailers, brand owners, and customers.
For consumers, RFID technology gives an assurance that if they visit an RFID powered retail outlet after seeing an advertisement of the store or if they have ordered items online to pick up in-store, then they can confidently walk in knowing that the products will be available in stock. And to make things better, retailers can even provide their customers with intricate information like the points of origin with any item they are interested in. This helps both the retailer and the customer to establish a sophisticated communication relationship. And in the case of brand owners, they can know real-time if their products sold to the retailer are actually on display or in the storeroom. Besides, RFID technology also verifies the authenticity of the products, therefore eliminating any counterfeit products.
RFID in 2020
RFID technology is not new. It was used during World War 2 and has had many applications in the defense field since then. But it is only in recent times, RFID started to exert a significant influence on the retail sector. And one of the major reasons is the increased efficiency of wireless technology, which paved the way for RAIN RFID. Without getting very technical, RAIN (RAdio frequency IdentificatioN) connects devices with RFID tags to the cloud, so that RFID based data can be stored, managed, and shared through the internet. And experts in the field have predicted that 2020 is going to be the year that RFID is going to (in the language of the Millenials) break-the-internet with the aid of RAIN RFID.
Also, the increased adoption of RAIN RFID tags and readers by the retailers who have jumped to omnichannel operations have indirectly saved the traditional brick and mortar retail industry. That’s right! With the omnichannel approach, every business is striving to offer a wholesome retail experience to its customers by connecting the online and the physical store shopping experience seamlessly. And visionary retailers have taken complete advantage of this because they know by allowing their consumers to shop how they want when they want, and where they want is the most probable way to succeed.
To add more value to my argument, I leave you with what Francisco Melo, VP/GM of Global RFID and for Avery Dennison and an industry leader has to say about RFID: “With the rise in omnichannel in recent years, the benefits of RFID are now extending to enhancing the consumer experience by meeting consumer demand for purchasing across multiple channels. As the growth in e-commerce and online pure-play overtakes many brick and mortar retailers, RFID becomes a fundamental technology, and that single view of inventory and optimization of that inventory across all channels not only allows you to increase the availability of inventory across all channels, which drives sales up but also to mix and match things that have not been sold in your network, thus reducing markdowns and improving your bottom line.”
Two of the major concerns of retailers about RFID technology used to be its efficiency and its unaffordable price. But that was 15 years back when RFID was a stillborn baby with no clear direction in the retail sector. But with the very many uses of RFID in various walks of life such as smart home industry, healthcare, and education, when we fast forward to 2020, RFID technology has not only become super affordable but it is also essential to run your everyday retail business with ease and efficiency.