Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in the Retail Environment

RFID inventory control

Radio frequency identification (RFID) was reportedly developed in the 1940s as an espionage tool in WWII. It has since been used to track everything from automobile parts to pharmaceuticals and even livestock.

The retail world began to adopt the technology in the 1990s. Although RFID in retail originally found its place in warehouse environments and supply chain security, it has since been introduced as an alternative to standard electronic article surveillance (EAS) as a method to manage inventory accuracy in store.

Now that the dynamic of retail has shifted to encompass online shopping and omni-channel retailing, inventory tracking has become more challenging. Nevertheless, it remains a top priority for retailers. The May-June 2016 issue of LP Magazine explores the journey to RFID program adoption in retail enterprises in “RFID in Retail,” by Lee Pernice, LPC. From the article:

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“A 2014 survey of 120 major retailers polled by Chain Link Research found improved inventory accuracy, which translated into reduced out-of-stock and better on-floor availability of merchandise, was the number one reason for implementing an RFID program.

According to Checkpoint’s Su Doyle, several of the company’s apparel retail and department store customers have increased on-shelf availability by 20 percent with RFID and experienced a 10 to 15 percent sales uplift for RFID-tagged merchandise. As it relates to omni-channel fulfillment, its customers have reportedly been able to double the fulfillment speed with near-perfect order accuracy when using RFID-enabled process automation.”

RFID can also streamline the location of missing inventory and accelerate the cycle counting process. Check out “RFID in Retail” to read the full article. You can also visit the Table of Contents for the May-June 2016 issue or register for a free subscription to the magazine.

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