RFID Is the Solution for Omnichannel Sales


During a presentation at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show regarding retail information systems (RIS), radio frequency identification technology was highlighted in several major retail reports and events for 2017. RFID is considered a technology that can support omnichannel sales strategies, allowing companies to mix online and physical sales without losing control of product movement, and it can take important indicators from such transactions.

U.S. giant Macy's, for example, has announced that it plans to have all of its products tagged with RFID sensors by the end of 2017, following the market trend (see Macy's to RFID-Tag 100 Percent of Items). RFID adoption can change the retail industry worldwide.

It is necessary to understand that, as with any technology in the information age, RFID is scalable. Any project driven by this technology should be understood as a long-term implementation, with RFID used to solve emergency problems. What is being observed in the current market are investments in the control of product movement, aimed at greater inventory management. According to the "2017 Retail Vision Study," a global survey presented by Zebra Technologies, companies using RFID sensors in their products achieve an average of 95 percent accuracy with their inventory counts.

This total control has a direct impact on one of the biggest problems inherent to retailing: product out-of-stocks. According to the report, retailers that have adopted RFID have reduced their incidence of out-of-stocks by 60 percent to 80 percent, while also increasing total sales by 6 percent and increasing the number of products sold at 16 percent per transaction.

With such impressive numbers, more mature retailers have shown that this product control is just the beginning. Lululemon, an American apparel retailer, offered its customers visibility into its inventory, ensuring that consumers had information regarding product availability—online or at a nearby store (see RFID Brings Lululemon's Inventory Accuracy to 98 Percent). This has afforded shoppers the ability to make choices.

Rebecca Minkoff, another apparel retailer based in the United States, has adopted smart RFID mirrors that recognize products being tried on and offer complimentary accessories matching each clothing item (see Rebecca Minkoff Brings Self-Service to Its SoHo Store With RFID and Rebecca Minkoff Store Uses RFID to Provide an Immersive Experience). This has helped the company to customize the shopping experience for its customers.

For retailers, the lesson is that it is not necessary to set up a large technological complex to achieve great benefits from RFID technology. With a reduction in the cost of sensors, it is already possible for companies to understand that near-total management of product movements allows a retailer to better know its customers, and thus offer them the best purchase options. This, in turn, leads to improved inventory management, demand control and price management, without setting aside a focus on customer satisfaction.

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