RFID in Retail - No Stopping it Now

Posted by Anna Zauner on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 @ 01:48 PM

Tags: RFID, Retail, PSFK

Retail Blog Picture 072512There has certainly been a lot of talk recently about innovation in the retail sector, a lot of which can be found in PSFK’s most recent Future of Retail Report.  Essentially, it comes down to enhancing the customer experience. Retailers are listening to their shoppers and considering new technologies to deliver what they are asking for, whether it is a webcam enabled algorithm that helps them find the right fit or a location aware smartphone app that provides sales-staff with customers’ preferences.

The use of RFID in retail to deliver enhanced customer experiences is growing as well.  For example, Macy’s recently announced in a Forbes article that RFID will be an integral part of the new 63,000 square foot shoe department opening this fall in their Herald Square location. Similarly, JCPenny CEO Ron Johnson revealed they would be moving “…to a 100% [item-level] RFID implementation by February 1, 2013.” Macy’s and JCPenny are not unique in their decision to embrace RFID, as many retailers now understand the countless advantages the technology has to offer (for more, see our blog posts on RFID in retail).

For Macy’s, installing RFID in the shoe department will be their first “broad use of RFID.”  After shoes, Macy’s plans to expand into basic merchandise - items that they need to make sure are always in stock and are in need of constant replenishment.

JCPenny's RFID strategy is centered on revitalizing the customer experience at the century-old department store. According to reports, the retailer is starting by implementing an RFID-enabled mobile Point of Sale (POS) solution beginning this fall. This is the first step in the company's plan to use RFID storewide to eliminate traditional check-out stations. The end goal is to allow any customer to check out anywhere, anytime, including self-check-out, by 2014.

At the end of the day, RFID is about simplicity and innovation.  By automating manual tasks, RFID technology can improve the customer experience while driving sales and reducing costs. Add progress made by industry organizations such as VICS and their templates for retail best practices, and the barriers to RFID adoption in become very low.

In 2010, we blogged about RFID in retail in the article RFID-The New Future of Retail. We noted Wal-Mart’s famous 2004 mandate requiring its top 100 suppliers to apply RFID tags to shipping crates and pallets to drive efficiencies into its supply chain, and many innovative uses of the technology since. With Macy’s and JCPenny grabbing some of the spotlight now, it sure seems like big retail players are beginning to recognize the value of RFID in meaningful ways - taking advantage of the process improvements it has promised to deliver for over a decade and enabling unique personalized customer experiences that today's shoppers are demanding.

The Future of RFID - Infographic

Posted by Ken Lynch on Mon, Jul 23, 2012 @ 02:13 PM

Tags: RFID, Internet of Things, GPS, Big Data

Infographics are cool.  They've been developed to visually represent data about a great many industries, places, and people.  Everything from Understanding Carbon Offsets to 7 Things You Didn't Know About the Golden Gate Bridge to The History Of Steve Jobs & Apple have been depicted in Infographic form.  Yes, there is even an Infographic of Infographics!

I've found a couple of Infographics that touch on The Internet of Things and the global supply chain like IBM's Stories of a Smarter Planet, but I was a bit surprised to find that there aren't many that cover Auto-ID technologies or RFID in particular.  So, here's our pass at creating a visual representation of The Future of RFID.  Take a ride along the path of Adoption, Convergence, the Internet of Things, and Big Data - ending in a place where RFID systems will become an integral part of the consumer and business experience!

Download a PDF of The Future of RFID Infographic and don't forget to let us know how we can help you with your RFID project!

The Future of RFID - Infographic

Embed the image above on your site:

<a href="http://rfid.thingmagic.com/rfid-infographic"><img src="http://rfid.thingmagic.com/Portals/42741/images/ThingMagic-Infographic_FINAL_July201.jpg" alt="The Future of RFID" width="540" border="0" /></a><br />Presented By: <a href="http://www.thingmagic.com/">ThingMagic</a>


100 Uses of RFID

View more than 100 other innovative ways in which Radio Frequency Identification and Sensing (RFIDS) is being used to automate data collection, identification, and location systems worldwide - 100 Uses of RFID

Everyday RFID – What You Can’t See is Making Your Life Easier

Posted by Ken Lynch on Mon, Jul 16, 2012 @ 02:41 PM

Tags: RFID, Asset Tracking, Apparel, Consumer Goods

BigBangIn a recent episode of The Big Bang Theory, the studio audience had a good hearty laugh about a character’s use of RFID – tagging, scanning, and tracking every item of his clothing – to “simplify” the process of packing for a weekend trip. Though we shared in the laughter as Sheldon happily takes only three hours and eleven minutes to enable himself to track the distance to and weather conditions around each pair of his socks, one question does come to mind: just how far-fetched is the idea of everyday RFID use for consumers?

While the sitcom character is making an exaggerated and absurd use of the technology, finding it necessary to explain step-by-step the elaborate system he’s created, the truth is that RFID has become so integrated into our society that most people don’t even realize just how much they benefit from it.  In fact, if on a typical day of errands, you drove your child to a doctor’s appointment, swung by the public library, and treated yourself to a little shopping, you could encounter RFID at every stop along the way. RFID in your keys gets you into your car. RFID in your toll pass keeps you moving along the highway. RFID in hospitals tracks your son or daughter’s medicine. RFID in library cards tracks the books you’ve checked out. RFID in clothing tags tells retailers if your favorite styles are in stock (they should be, with the technology uniting the supply chain as well). And the list goes on.

However, if you were ever to strike up a conversation with someone about how cool and useful RFID is, you would get a lot of reactions eerily similar to that of the character’s roommate in the The Big Bang Theory clip. But perhaps that is a testament to just how effective RFID is as an integrated technology. It’s becoming so pervasive that people don’t realize it’s been making their lives easier and will continue to do so on much broader levels as it gets more widely adopted by both businesses and consumers. So while our friends from The Big Bang Theory continue their back-and-forth (and somewhere, someone plays the laugh track on repeat), the reality is that RFID typically isn’t even part of the conversation – it’s in the background simplifying data collection and enhancing processes so we can concentrate on our everyday activities.

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