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.

100 Uses of RFID in Review

Posted by Ken Lynch on Fri, Dec 17, 2010 @ 04:18 PM

Tags: RFID, Sensors, PSFK, ReadWriteWeb, MIT

100 Uses of RFIDWhen we launched our 100 Uses of RFID program earlier this year, we had an overarching goal of raising awareness of the many different types of wireless identification technologies available today.  Looking beyond traditional uses of ID technologies like radio frequency identification and sensors (RFIDS), we also wanted to explore the growing number of solutions where users are naturally interacting with RFIDS and where the technology is so integrated and transparent that it disappears into its environment.

Executing the program was an exciting challenge.  Through the use of our blog, press releases, YouTube and Twitter, we intended to promote innovative yet real RFID applications each business day for 100 days.  At the beginning, some called us out, wondering if we could sustain the pace we publicized.  ReadWriteWeb challenged our planCan they keep this up 95 more times?  That seems like a rough row to hoe.”  Thankfully, we were able to reach our goal on target and benefited from a follow up RWW article: Looks Like There Really Are 100 Uses for RFID and mention in their Top 10 Internet of Things Developments of 2010 round-up!

The visibility favorable editorial coverage has driven isn’t the only positive outcome.  This program has also led to ongoing dialog about innovative uses of RFID and sensing technology with users, prospective customers, business partners, and several industry and business media outlets.

We hope that the content generated for this program continues to be useful others.  For those of you interested in keeping track or guessing about what your peers are interested in, the most popular topics of the program to date are:

Race Timing with RFID

Enhancing the Patient Experience with RFID

The Next Revolution in Wireless and Mobility

Hospital Inventory Control with UHF RFID

The Batteryless RFID Imperative in Healthcare

RFID – The New Future of Retail

Of course we couldn’t have done it alone.  The ThingMagic team would like to gratefully acknowledge those who made this program possible, including our valued customers and partners for their editorial contributions, and the inspirational sources for several of the uses of RFID noted in our program, including RFID Journal, PSFK, the MIT Media Lab and many others.

And in today’s age of social media, we couldn’t have reached the audience we did without our growing community of blog subscribers and Twitter followers.  A special shout out to @AetherCzar for #WirelessWednesday mentions and @ZebraTechnology, @VeryFieldsRFID, @LPP_PR and @zanderliving for the many re-tweets!

Stay tuned for future programs as we continue to blog on the many uses of RFID.  If you have a unique use of RFID and/or sensor technology, let us know and we’ll consider it for a blog post or future marketing activity!

Music Branding with RFID

Posted by Ken Lynch on Tue, Oct 12, 2010 @ 04:00 AM

Tags: RFID, Retail, PSFK

RFID to Match the Mood of Clothing with Music

The following use of RFID comes by way of a blog entry from PSFK titled Music Branding With RFID-Embedded Clothing.  Yes, this is the same PSFK that published the thought provoking Future of Retail presentation referenced in our post RFID - The New Future of Retail earlier this year.

Music Branding with RFID

From PSFK:

Gomus is a music branding company based in Brazil that works with sound to create unique environments. Their RFID-based platform called Echo is a retail-focused project currently in development, which recognizes information on the tags embedded in clothing to create specific musical environments while shoppers try on clothes. The project will be implemented in Brazilian clothing stores next year, and aims to match the mood of the clothing with music.

As highlighted in our earlier retail post, PSFK invites us to: “…think less about real estate, staff, footfall and online stores and start thinking about the entire world as a store; one in which we can easily make instant purchases regardless of time and place. Driven by technology, the web, community and the search for ever-richer experiences, the world of shopping is undergoing a sweeping transformation.”

What are your thoughts about the intersection of retail and technology?

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