RFID Making its Way into Mainstream Retail

Radio frequency identification (RFID) has enjoyed a warm reception thanks to its many benefits, but until now, a lot of retailers simply did not think it was something they couldn’t live without, save for perhaps high-end clothing and jewelry. The high price tag of implementing RFID and buying the equipment and tags was a turnoff for many.

However, all that is changing as many retailers move toward RFID. For example, the director of clothing maker Herman Kay, Rich Haig, has instituted a five-step deployment plan for RFID that enables his brands to keep track of each garment as it makes its way from production through shipping. This is hardly a niche operation; Herman Kay makes clothes for brands such as Anne Klein, Michael Kors, and London Fog and sells to major department stores such as Nordstrom, Macy’s, and JC Penney.

Tracking goods from production to sale

Just how is RFID helping Herman Kay? So far, they are using it to verify picked quantities and make sure the styles and colors that are boxed are completely accurate. They can also ensure that the loads are placed on the correct trucks and verify when they are received. The next step is to start scanning goods as they go into the containers in the factory in order to keep paperwork down and boost awareness of goods that are in the pipeline.

RFID is also being used by brands to keep track of goods in stores as the costs associated with implementing RFID decline. For example, Lululemon has reached 98 percent inventory accuracy since deploying RFID in all its stores, tracking garments from arrival through display and all the way to sales. Macy’s is using the technology to streamline the re-ordering process and noting significant gains in sales and reductions in out-of-stocks as a result.