RFID & Retail

Over the past few years, RFID has been playing an increasingly larger role in retail, and it’s for the best. RFID allows retailers to identify individual items, cases and pallets wirelessly, with rich data and without the need for a line of sight. However, in addition to tracking and tracing inventory, RFID has more recently been helping retailers become more competitive with online sellers through omnichannel sales. Essentially, sales are being closed more on the buyer’s terms, whether in a physical location or through the web.

Because orders are coming in both on the web and in-store, accurate inventory tracking is essential. RFID allows for fast and frequent inventory counting, which ensures accurate levels.

The RFID tags contain a simple chip and antenna and are embedded into product pricing labels. They are powered by the radio signal emitted from readers, which can be hand-held or fixed. The tags allow store clerks to quickly check the inventory of an entire rack by simply walking around the display with an RFID reader. From there, the handheld will display the sizes or styles that need to be replenished and the associate can go to the stock room to easily refill the rack.

Prior to using RFID technology, inventory tracking was done with barcodes, but not nearly as often or accurately, since barcodes require associates to scan them one at a time. For retail environments, RFID is no doubt a huge time saver that better connects the warehouse to the store.