Today’s retail environments across the world are dominated by reining technologies which are used to bring operational efficiency, better customer handling and shopping experience and ideal business planning.
Some of the most sought-after technologies adopted by offline and online retailers in India and other major economies include Cloud POS technology, Internet of Things (IoT), Block chain, the information-sharing technology and Machine Learning.
Though machine learning has the great potential of “world-changing”, Internet of Things and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology have tremendous capability to makeover any retail business operation.
Multi-tasking with RFID
RFID has been there for many years now and is being adopted by several medium and large retail houses in India. RFID works in simple mechanism. Each product in the store is embedded with a RFID tag and each one has its own unique magnetic signature/signal. The signal of each product is picked up by a RFID receiver or Reader placed in the store which also records the location of each product. The same technology can be used for paying credit/debit cards by tap-and-go at POS payment counters.
As tags are magnetically read, the system is more efficient than the typical barcode scanning or visual scanning system as RFID tags and the reader need not be in line with each other for effective communication.
Therefore, a store which is RFID compliant can save 90 per cent of time in processing goods at checkouts or checking inventory compared to conventional scanning methods such as barcode scanning. In other words, if a store takes three days to complete the stock taking exercise, the same work can be completed within 45 minutes using RFID!
Though barcode scanning has reduced the errors compared to manual inventory handling, RFID has gone a step further in improving the accuracy level. Since there is no manual scanning, the accuracy level for RFID-enhanced system will be typically more compared to all other methods.
RFID in retail environment
Centralizing Merchandise Movement: Store managers can easily identify places in the store where particular merchandise are kept or needs to be moved. Wrongly placed goods on racks can be identified and removed/replaced swiftly.
With effective RFID system, store in-charge can find out which goods have more demand and which one needs to be placed in the storeroom for future use.
Improving Click & Collect:
With Omnichannel retailing gaining momentum, customers expect that they should enjoy the facility of ordering onine and pick-up the orders in the store (offline), which is also known as click-and-collect method.
If there is incompatibility between the system and online ordering mechanism, customers will be at the receiving end. For example, if a customer orders certain goods online in the morning and when he comes to pick up the goods in the evening, when the system displays out-of-stock flag, it will leave a terrible blow on customer experience. With RFID tags, these kinds of anomalies can be avoided.
Finding Sales Hot Spots: Since RFID receivers have the record of products and their location, it will be easy to know which area of the store has the better sale. This allows store managers to plan better sales strategy and reward productive staff.
Fast and Accurate Checkouts: Not to mention, RFID helps faster and more accurate checkouts. This improves customer experience inside the store as well.
Help Reduce Theft: Since RFID tags are attached to security devices, items which are not billed when they cross the RFID receiver placed close to the front door, it generate beep sound so that merchants could identify the carrier and prevent theft and other types of material pilferages.
Detecting Fake Goods: To prevent fake goods finding places on the supermarket racks, manufacturers embed RFID tags inside the goods which can only be verified by the retail showrooms for genuineness.
Costs: The RFID tags are inexpensive, smaller in size and can be customized depending upon the size of the product.
More and more companies have come up in India to deliver a range of RFID-related products and services for the retail industry. So, it is a foregone conclusion that RFID is the future of the retail environment in India.