Re-evolution of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device) lately as an enabling technology has prompted retailers to investigate the value of the technology across four major objectives: process efficiency, product and demand visibility, shrink management, and increasing profits. Due to this reason, most retailers across all segments of the industry are implementing RFID solutions, measuring the results of their initiatives, and searching for ways to leverage the technology in every part of their business. Retailers are now approaching RFID with confidence, seeking ways to minimize their risks while maximizing their returns and making core business processes, in-store operations, and customer-facing activities cheaper, faster, and more accurate.
Directly and indirectly, usages of RFID tagging of items help the retailers in:
- Reduction or Elimination of full manual inventory calculation
- Improve staff productivity
- Reduction in cost of labor
- Improve on shelf availability
- Smarter replenishment process
- Reduction in pilferage by customers and employees
- Obsolescence reduction
- Increased inventory accuracy which leads to lower safety stocks, better usage of working capital, more inventory turns per annum etc.
- Reduction in out of stock instances
As is the case with most technologies that enable business process transformation, the return on the investment is not limited to the obvious metrics, nor should it be. Often, the most beneficial returns from an RFID initiative are to be found in non-obvious or unanticipated areas. These areas can be Success of in-store product promotions, improved employee productivity and improved (reduced) customer wait time etc.
Recently, we have seen best in class organizations have started taking actions like below to achieve the organizational objectives very efficiently with the help of RFID technology:
- Monitor customer in-store purchase activity and correlate it with real-time inventory management. Having achieved customer behavior monitoring and real-time inventory visibility in the store, organizations are positioned to extend their competitive advantage through information integration and analytics
- Leverage automated alerting. To turn real-time merchandise visibility and real-time customer behavior monitoring into operational excellence, it is essential for personnel to have instantaneous detail information about what is happening in the store. This goes well beyond understanding when an item is leaving the premises without authorization; it includes proactive management of in-store promotions, redirection of staff to high-traffic services, and seamless interaction between online sales systems, in-store stock status, and service desk activity
- Deploy advanced customer-facing services. Much research has been done into the value and utility of interactive fitting rooms for the fashion and apparel segments; yet, very few instances of this technology are to be found in current use. Intelligent customer service applications are as applicable in hardware and furniture as they are in footwear and fast-fashion. Whether it is measured in customer wait-time reductions at the register or waiting for a sales associate to check the back room for a SKU, RFID-enabled advanced customer service improves the customer experience, increases sales, and improves job satisfaction. All retailers, from Best-in-Class to Laggard, must study the impact of RFID on the customer experience