RFID and Retail Marketing is among the top business technology trends this year.
RFID refers to Radio Frequency Identification. It is the technology which allows wireless transfer of data by the use of electromagnetic fields. To put it in layman’s language, RFID includes embedding tags into objects, animals etc and then tracking these tags. There are various industries in which RFID is used and has become essential. One of them is the pharmaceutical industry. Drugs tagged with RFID can be tracked through warehouses. Another industry which uses this is the automobile industry. Cars or other vehicles may be tracked through the assembly line.
RFID is not just limited to non-animate objects. It may also be embedded in animals – livestock and pets. This allows for the identification and tracking of the concerned animal. It is a useful technology that automates what has been done manually for decades. It provides convenience as well as safety. It has been adopted by various industries in various capacities as such.
In the retail industry, however, RFID is a blessing. There are many ways in which RFID has helped retail marketing. It has helped in every stage of retailing – from inventory stocking to finding out the tastes of the customer. One of them, perhaps the most obvious use, is to avoid shoplifting. Shoplifting is a serious concern for most retailers. It is a problem that has been there since eons and has never been solved conclusively. One of the most common ways in which retailers have tried to solve this is to have the employees keep a close eye on the shoppers.
This, however, presents two cons. One is that the customer hates being watched. People like to shop on their own, and need some space. It becomes annoying if it seems an employee is trailing them. The second concern and perhaps the more serious one is that asking employees to do this distracts them from the duties that their job demands. This decreased productivity in the long run. Therefore it becomes a lose-lose situation. RFID provides an answer that keeps both the employees efficient and the customers happy. RFID is an effective tool against shoplifters. A remote scan of the customers as they leave your outlet can reveal if they are carrying an item they haven’t paid for.
Another way that RFID has proved a boon to the retail industry is by making inventory tracking easier. Without RFID inventory tracking is usually done in two ways. One is to manually track every product, count it and keep a record. The second method is to use barcode readers and have a record maintained with some level of automation. Both of these methods suffer from two major drawbacks. The first one is that it requires a large human workforce if there are many products.
This leads to wastage of working hours if the problem of availability of the workforce is solved first. The second drawback is that there is no real time track of inventories. If a particular product goes out of stock at a particular time the retailer might not even come to know that this has happened.