How RFID is Changing Retail for the Better
The pandemic has changed the way we live our lives in almost every aspect, and we have all had to adjust to a new normal across a variety of industries.
This 2020 black swan event closed down some industries entirely, including physical retail stores selling goods deemed non-essential. As retailers begin to re-open with customers being welcomed back to physical stores, the role of retail technology has proved to be of heightened importance more than ever before.
The role of technology in the retail industry has been evolving over several years, with the pandemic rapidly accelerating its impact as an essential part of the modern sales process. The role of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology in all of this is integral, and especially in physical retail stores, as it plays an essential role in the safe return of customers as lockdown restrictions begin to ease further.
The return of brick and mortar retail
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced retailers to pivot quickly to Buy Online Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) and omnichannel retail channels simply to survive the past 12 months. These selling strategies have proved to be incredibly beneficial as they leverage the existing inventory in physical stores to drive increased customer traffic and eliminate many of the last mile shipping costs associated with online purchases. As customers once again have the opportunity to browse in physical stores, retailers can capture incremental sales from impulse buys and complementary items that customers purchase when picking up their orders.
Retail technology has experienced a revamp over the last 12 plus months. as COVID has motivated retailers like never before to invest in online methods such as BOPIS and BORIS solutions to cater to the growing expectation of their retail audience. The implementation of retail technology in physical stores is intrinsic to a fully functional retailer, providing improved customer experiences, and bolstering employee effectiveness.
The rise of RFID
Inventory accuracy and stock levels throughout an organization is pivotal to the foundations of sales growth and profitability for a retailer. RFID is simply the most effective tool available to keep inventory accurate in large scale retail enterprises. An accurate, RFID enabled item-level inventory management creates efficiency throughout the entire supply chain, transforming the role of store associates in retail stores as they are freed up from inventory related tasks. One of the most impactful advantages of RFID implementation is the reduced time employees spend taking stock count and managing the stock: an average increase in speed of 20 times a manual count process! RFID technology increases inventory accuracy at the item-level routinely up to 98%, a substantial improvement from manual stock counts and with just a fraction of the disruption and labor effort required.
Modern customers now demand a flawless and personalized experience. Enabling employees the time to focus on these customers rather than inventory management is pivotal to retailers. RFID technology can ease this challenge and create a smooth transition through the supply chain, ultimately increasing customer satisfaction and experience. The deployment of RFID technology in fashion based on flow of stock, finished goods, stock level, and time-efficiency significantly impacts both efficiency and operational effectiveness. When customers can depend on their orders being fulfilled consistently and count on available in-store employees to provide service, they develop brand loyalty and provide a base for consistently reliable sales.
The future of RFID technology post-pandemic
As we move into a new era of retailing, a significant challenge for retailers continues to be managing their inventory and stock. However, the implementation of item-level RFID technology provides the necessary support for retailers to win in this aspect of their business. As a result, we’ve seen more retailers turning to RFID technology to boost their retail inventory efficiency and modernize their approach to inventory management.
Item-level RFID inventory management solutions give retailers an advantage over competitors by providing better insight into their product availability. What’s more, retailers can leverage the technology to capture immediate sales and create long-term relationships with customers by implementing the technology before restrictions are lifted.
As the world continues to work towards the ‘new normal’, it is more important than ever for retailers to consider what the post-crisis landscape will look like and prepare for ongoing changing customer habits. Implementing RFID technology allows retailers to compete confidently in the near and long term as they respond to permanent changes in customer shopping patterns and expectations. This provides increased profitability immediately as restrictions are lessened. In the distant future, retail grows and emerges from the pandemic ready to capitalize on the development of these additional sales channels.