• Laura Wrigley

4 ways that RFID will open the gateway to making the in-store experience more relevant

The global RFID market is on a sharp growth trajectory, with investment set to hit $24.5 million next year. More and more retailers are using this type of technology to drive operational efficiencies and improve stock visibility. But that’s not all RFID can do.


As we touched on in a recent blog post about driving more value from RFID investment, its unique identification capabilities can reveal powerful insights into in-store customer journeys – without those customers making any proactive effort.


RFID enables passive data collection opportunities, so bricks-and-mortar interactions can be tailored in a helpful, relevant way. It’s an effective means of introducing personalised services without getting shoppers to volunteer personal information at the till point; a challenge that many retailers are grappling with at present.


Here are some of the ways in which RFID can improve bricks-and-mortar personalisation, without putting the burden of information sharing on the shoulders of the customer…

1 – Analysing browsing versus buying behaviours


RFID-tagging every product for stock location purposes can have dual benefits when it comes to gathering data on how shoppers are interacting with products. It’s easy to track which items people pick up as they move around the store, whether they try those items on, and which of them they ultimately go on to purchase.


This data can be synchronised with in-store technologies to enhance the store experience. For example, associates can see via their point of sale technology which items people picked up and put down again, and then find out why they abandoned that item, to solve barriers to purchase as quickly and effectively as possible.


2 – Tracing product discovery behaviours


It’s not just product choice that RFID can enhance; for fashion retailers in particular, understanding the in-store consumer journey in greater detail can provide valuable information about product discovery – sizing, for instance.


If a shopper frequently goes into a store and tries on several different sizes, retailers can start to understand more about which products fit him or her best. When they buy something and their identity becomes known, this data can be correlated with their online account to support future purchases.

For instance, if that customer is buying a jumper online which tends to come up quite big, retailers can advise them to ‘size down’ at the point of purchase. This saves them ordering it in two sizes, which takes one item out of the available stock pool unnecessarily, and alleviates the cost and logistics of the worse-fit size being returned.


3 – Recommending complementary in-stock products


One of the most effective online sales tools is recommendation, either through suggesting that ‘customers who bought X also bought Y’, or by curating looks involving complementary products.


If an in-store customer picks up an item and takes it to the changing room, RFID can enable this same recommendation process, provided data is synchronised to digital screen technology. Shoppers can either be shown recommendations in their cubicle, or as they leave the changing room.


Equally, RFID can be used to build interactive in-store encounters with relevant products. One iota’s experience table, for example, gives customers the chance to complete their look – including through multimedia content such as videos and social media feedback.

4 – Continuing the customer journey online


We’ve already mentioned how RFID data can improve customer information and interaction, but it can also support subsequent sales as well.


For example, if a customer picks up two items but puts one back, retailers will still know who that customer is once they get to the checkout. Data about the abandoned item can be used in their future online interactions – either via retargeting or that item being automatically added to their ‘wishlist’.


Leaving an item behind doesn’t necessarily mean it wasn’t right for them; the customer may just not have had the resources to purchase both products there and then.


Extracting even more value from RFID


As the examples we’ve shared demonstrate, RFID provides an interesting gateway to in-store personalisation, as it gives retailers the ability to understand what each customer is searching for at that moment in time, without disrupting their shopping journey.


With RFID, anonymised information can either be used to contextualise the in-store experience, or it can be linked to individual shoppers when they reach the point of sale and their identity becomes known. Either way, it makes sure that all marketing is focussed on relevant messaging.


If retailers have already invested in RFID for operational excellence, or they’re considering it on those grounds, it makes sense for one piece of technology to work twice as hard and drive customer insight value. Who knows, its usage could be extended in other elements of the store to boost customer engagement; RFID-embedded loyalty cards perhaps?


Bring RFID into your bricks-and-mortar customer journeys through One iota’s experience table.

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