RFID has become in recent years a major strategic asset for all retail sectors, including cosmetics, clothes and food industry, leather goods…. Distributors have found in this technology a way to drastically optimize costs. RFID applications are very various: in-store inventory, order picking, anti-theft devices… But RFID technology has not yet revealed all its secrets… This technology of the future is quickly giving more autonomy and interactivity with the product but also helping to face counterfeiting, to automatically analyze store activity….
RFID, an asset for the company
Classic uses of RFID include anti-theft and inventory. For inventory, operations are more straightforward and more efficient than with barcodes. An RFID tag attached to a product becomes its identity card. All RFID tags located within a defined perimeter are automatically read and in a few seconds by a mobile RFID reader or an RFID antenna connected to a fixed reader. They then transfer the information contained in the RFID tags to a computer or tablet. The return on investment (ROI) thanks to RFID is very important because it can significantly reduce errors and save a lot of time. Thus, an in-store inventory is done automatically, in a few minutes and almost without errors. Let’s take a look of a clothing rental store (costumes, evening wear…). All items are equipped with an RFID tag which is scanned when a customer rent it. Consequently, it enables to have a clear overview of the inventory at any time.
RFID will surely be more and more used in other applications such as counterfeiting. Manufacturers can attach RFID tags to their products. This procedure allow the after-sales service to scan the returned products and verify that they are authentic products.
Give autonomy to the customer
RFID technology is more and more present throughout the customer journey. It allows customers to be more independent in their in-store purchasing process. For example, after shopping and putting the items in the shopping basket, a customer will pass near an RFID antenna. The combination reader-antenna enables the identification of all products. Information are available on a screen and the customer can proceed to the payment.
For quick shopping, the customer can even make the payment from his smartphone. But how does it work? All you have to do is to scan the product with the store application on your phone and validate the secure payment.
These approaches are already being tested and are very promising. Indeed, they drastically reduce customer waiting times, the workforce required for the cash register and the risk of errors.
There are many examples of RFID that make everyday life easier for consumers. In the cosmetics industry, the customer will simply have to scan the barcode of a lipstick through the mobile application of the store to have a snapshot of his/her face on his/her mobile phone screen. Another example is in a clothing store: clothes can be scanned at the entrance of the fitting room by an RFID antenna. The clothes will then appear to the customer in the mirror. It will then be possible to see on the mirror the available options of the selected product(s) (colors, sizes…), information regarding the product(s) (materials, laundry care…) and other possible product(s) associations with the selected items.
RFID technology is becoming more and more widespread in the retail sector. It is gradually becoming accessible and RFID professionals are now able to perfectly meet the distributors’ needs despite important technical constraints in the sector.
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