Part two in our three-part series on the benefits of RFID in retail:
Manual Inventory Snapshots
Due to the competitive nature of the retail industry, the average retailer tends to be averse to risk, operating their business with slim gross margins and keeping a close eye on expenses. This tendency often leads retailers to pursue the lowest barrier to entry into RFID by simply trading handheld barcode readers for handheld RFID readers.
Although deployment of handheld RFID technology may enable inventory counts to be conducted more frequently than once or twice per year, taking inventory on the sales floor with a handheld reader is intrusive, labor-intensive and detracts personnel from serving customers. Unrepeatable, unreliable data arrives in snapshots every three or four weeks, typically collected by young, part-time employees who are easily distracted.
More importantly, handheld readers cannot deliver the real-time, location-specific data needed for effective omni-channel fulfillment. Many retailers implementing this low-risk, low-reward RFID deployment strategy invest in hundreds or thousands of handheld readers, only to see minimal improvement over yesterday’s barcodes, with use cases falling short of expectations due to unreliable data.
Alternatively, today’s retailers have a better deployment option.
Benefits of RFID in Retail: Continuous, Automated Visibility
Fixed RFID deployment delivers the key benefits necessary to fully realize the promise of this technology. With RFID readers discreetly mounted on the ceiling or in a doorway, an integrated hardware and software system automatically collects the continuous, real-time, location-specific data that retailers need for a deeper understanding of what’s going on in their own stores.
Unobtrusive, fixed RFID readers provide an effective, reliable way to seamlessly track tagged inventory in real-time as it moves throughout the store: in receiving, between the back room and sales floor, in fitting rooms, at point of sale and store exits. This pervasive visibility enables the reliable inventory accuracy needed for successful omni-channel execution.
But the benefits of fixed deployment go well beyond inventory tracking for omni-channel fulfillment and loss prevention. Automated, real-time RFID delivers a rich data stream that provides valuable insight into customer behavior and product preferences, enabling faster stock replenishment, better forecasting and fewer end-of-season markdowns.
Fixed RFID readers have been widely used across a range of industries, due to the demonstrated benefits in operational excellence, cost reduction, audit compliance and many other areas. As of this writing, more than 10 major retailers representing thousands of stores are deploying pilots using fixed infrastructure in order to gain real-time business insight, maximize inventory accuracy and enhance the customer experience.
With this deployment option, brick and mortar retailers can benefit from many of the same tools that online retailers take for granted, enabling new models of omni-channel customer engagement for true competitive advantage. Imagine being able to text up-to-the-minute item availability and location information direct to customers even as they are browsing the store.
RFID in Retail – The Implications are Game Changing.
In part three, we explore fixed RFID reader system options to gain maximum benefit and return on investment with retail analytics for true competitive advantage.