How Retail RFID Can Help Brick-and-Mortar Businesses August 25th, 2022

How Retail RFID Can Help Brick-and-Mortar Businesses
Explore the benefits of using this technology for more than loss prevention.  

Businesses have discovered new value from familiar technologies, such as retail RFID solutions, in the 2020s. Since the beginning of the decade, retailers have made many changes to keep business running during uncertain times. For example, after pandemic shutdowns ended, retailers adapted to new consumer behaviors, building their trust with a new focus on health safety. Furthermore, businesses are still attempting to solve the problem of operating efficiently during labor shortages and disrupted supply chains.  

RFID technology gives retailers tools to create safe, reliable, and convenient brick-and-mortar shopping experiences.  

Everyday Retail RFID Use Cases 

One of the most common uses for retail RFID solutions is loss prevention. RFID tags on high-value items trigger anti-shoplifting alarms at the door if the tags aren’t removed, helping to reduce theft and shrinkage by 1.5 percent to 2 percent. RFID’s ability to track a product or asset’s location without any intervention by retail staff makes it a logical choice for this use case, especially if thieves can’t remove tags without drawing attention to themselves. Furthermore, RFID technology can automatically and consistently monitor thousands of items at once. A distraction may take a cashier or sales associate’s focus away from tracking the merchandise going out the door, but it won’t interfere with RFID monitoring.  

But Loss Prevention Is Just the Beginning. RFID Does More.  

Retail RFID solutions can also enhance other processes or address additional pain points, for example:

  • Inventory management. With RFID technology, retailers can have accurate real-time inventory data. RFID readers can capture signals from each tag – even from mixed items on store shelves. Retailers can use fixed readers or have employees use hand scanners, which don’t require establishing a line of sight to capture data. The data provides information on which items are in stock and can also provide information on location, which can inform merchandising decisions and help slow-moving products sell or enhance the visibility of items in demand.  
  • Inventory counts. End-of-year or periodic inventory counting is essential for accounting purposes, but it’s traditionally been disruptive and labor-intensive. RFID solutions allow retailers to count and document large numbers of products in minutes. When items are tagged with RFID chips, inventory counts are easier and more efficient with less need for labor and less chance of human error.  
  • Asset tracking. Tracking returnable transport items (RTIs), such as shopping carts, crates, roll cages and more, with RFID gives retailers the ability to track them and control losses. This type of retail RFID solution can also enhance customer experiences because the equipment or tools they need to carry or transport merchandise to their vehicles is available when they need it.  
  • Self-checkout. When checkout is self-service, retail RFID solutions can enable shoppers simply to put merchandise near an RFID reader to check out. The technology recognizes items instantly and provides the customer with a total for the purchase. This significantly reduces checkout time and improves customer experiences. It also eliminates the risk of shoppers forgetting to scan some items (or intentionally not scanning). RFID platforms can also be a component of a smart shopping cart or cashierless checkout to remove even more friction from transactions.  

Overall, RFID solutions have the potential to make a significant impact on retail operations. For example, a University of Leicester study of 10 companies that used RFID found that it reduced shrinkage losses by up to 15 percent, increased storage accuracy by as much as 75 percent, and improved inventory accuracy by 93 percent to 99 percent.  

The Right RFID Solution for Your Clients 

Retailers need technology solution providers’ expertise to select, source, and implement systems that will work as intended and deliver maximum value. As retailers refine or establish new processes in the post-pandemic world, be ready to help them make the best choices and optimize their operations with retail RFID solutions.