Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags are rapidly replacing the old bar codes that have been used since 1974. Radio Frequency Identification technology has its roots in World War II when this type of technology was used to track airplanes. The concept for utilizing this technology to track retail objects didn’t really catch on until 2003. This was due mainly to the ongoing experimentation with the cost and production of RFID tags that would work properly to track objects at remote distances.
Establishing Protocols-Birth of RFID
Protocols had to be formed to utilize the RFID tags thereby creating good benefits for the companies that would utilize the tags. Electronic Product Code (EPC) was created to process the data allowing the information to be processed over the Internet. RFID tags with this code would transmit the data to a connected database that was easily accessible to the company.
Benefits for Company and Customer
The benefits of RFID technology for retail are two-fold. Retail store owners now have the ability to track their merchandise throughout the store. Customers in turn are now able to find the product they want either online or in the store easily. Other benefits include being able to understand what products are selling and what products are staying on the shelves.
Customers now expect immediate gratification. With RFID technology, retail store owners can ensure that customers leave their store happy. This is reason enough to install RFID technology. Sales personnel can also benefit because they can track customer’s purchases and up sell other products and services that compliment the purchases made.
Faster check-out experiences are the number one benefit for implementing RFID technology. The newer technology that uses radio frequency provides more information at a faster rate than the bar codes thereby decreasing the time spent in line. In the not so distant future customers will be able to eliminate the line altogether because integrated technology has provided a way for customers to pay for purchases automatically.
Stock and Inventory Benefits
The best benefit for both manufacturers and store owners is the RFID’s abilities to track objects remotely. This benefit allows for “just-in-time” inventory of items; alerts for out-of-stock items and the ability to deter theft of items.
Marketers can utilize the data gathered from the RFID tags to make decisions about product availability. This makes it easier to provide great customer service.
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