3 Ways RFID Technology Will Help Retailers

The retail sector today has the opportunities to create a safer, reliable and more convenient experience for its customers. Here we dive into the three practical benefits of RFID.
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"Research shows that RFID improves inventory accuracy by more than 25%," says Chown.

The retail sector today has the opportunities to create a safer, reliable and more convenient experience for its customers. RFID technology is able to deliver a more feasible and customer-driven shift towards the in-person shopping experience.

Although it’s been around for quite some time, RFID technology in today’s world can have a huge impact on a retailer’s profit and loss. The RFID System involves the placement of RFID tags on products to emit signals to the reader, which are then processed by an application. It rates real-time results for transactions, inventory levels or customer purchase order history.

Modern RFID solutions can address growing security concerns as they help to reset store economics, create efficiency and lower costs. Ultimately, RFID technology can reduce the pressure on retailers. RFID solutions are used for RFID scan coding, RFID EPC tag voiding, product locator, inventory control and stock-taking. 

In a recent study, researchers highlighted three key advantages that RFID would bring to retailers. Here we dive into the three benefits of RFID:

1. Improves Inventory Accuracy

Efficient and effective supply chains require inventory accuracy more than anything. Traditional methods of inventory counts need intensive labor and are often inaccurate. RFID has proved to be very constructive in improving inventory accuracy by providing accurate counts. The credit for this goes to the ability of RFID to take in and process a wide range of data. It processes the data and inventory counts within minutes. The RFID label eliminates the need for individual barcode scanning and to touch every object to count it.

Research shows that RFID improves inventory accuracy by more than 25%. Conducted by University of Leicester, the study showed that 10 Europeans using RFID technology in their business have garnered positive results.  It not only increased their sales, but also improved accuracy of storage, from a 65% to 75% accurate inventory to 93% to 99% using RFID technology.

2. Enhances Inventory Control

RFID helps retailers to track their items even if they are frequently moved. It reduces the manual labor hours by 10% to 15%, which increases the speed of production and makes tracking easy. In other words, RFID simplifies the typical retail inventory process, which is otherwise very time-consuming. With RFID, every item is accounted for at each step. Large numbers of items are read and documented within seconds. Each item has a unique ID, so it cannot be read more than once. Retail audits can become more efficient and effective through such technology.

Naturally, this makes RFID incredibly reliable. This reliability aids in reducing the labor hours to find where the items are and then perform a count on inventory. It requires less monitoring than any other technology. This means staff on the ground can be assigned to more value-added tasks. It can keep the store running efficiently and effectively and enables the staff to concentrate on sales and customer service rather than stock taking.

Managing inventory control with RFID makes everything easier and faster. It eliminates the need for labor input, thus reducing the risk of human error. The scanning of items with RFID control drastically lowers the time spent on inventories and in return, spikes productivity.

3. Strengthens Loss Prevention Programs

RFID technology produces far more detailed insights about the products and the store, reducing shrinkage and theft by 1.5% to 2%. The essential character of RFID is its data monitoring measure, which instantly tracks the location of any item. It has been publicized as a promising solution for reducing shrinkage and theft. In the words of Lee and Ozer (2007), RFID can help reduce inventory shrinkage by accurately monitoring inventory, which leads to a direct reduction in theft.

RFID technology uses anti-shop lifting alarms. When a customer walks through gates that are used to read radio wave signals, the items are traced. If any item is not deactivated on the purchase, then it generates tiny electric currents that send radio waves to the readers. These currents help by sounding an alarm to alert that the tag is still active.

RFID technology can track inventory and asset movements and prevent consumer shoplifting. This is the reason why manufacturers and suppliers use RFID technology to prevent theft and inventory shrinkage.

Briefly, RFID technology allows retailers to track their inventory from the warehouse to the sales floor. A pivotal aspect of RFID technology is scanning hundreds of items within seconds. It has a far greater level of accuracy when it comes to counting and tracking assets. Using RFID technology increases the revenue from 5% to 15%, depending on the business. According to research conducted in 2018, 69% of retailers started using RFID technology, and this number is only increasing day by day.

RFID technology can be used for a number of other applications such as:

  • Livestock tracking
  • Access control
  • Shipping and manufacturing
  • Credit card payments
  • Vehicle tracking
  • Customer service
  • Supply chain distribution
  • Healthcare (patient identification and equipment tagging)

-Patrick Chown
Patrick Chown is a Business Security Systems Installation Consultant, Low Voltage Electrical Contractor, and Cannabis Security Plan Writer. He is the owner and President of Safe and Sound Security, a company that specializes in integrating security cameras, access control, burglar alarms and structured cabling.