• Laura Wrigley

Drive even more value from your investment in RFID

Over the past five or so years, we’ve seen RFID technology grow from something new and experimental to a mainstream technology that leading retailers are rolling out across their business.

Up until now, its primary benefit has been operational; helping staff to track stock location and availability in granular detail, to make smarter decisions about allocation and replenishment. But this is only part of its value.


Retailers could be using RFID to enhance the in-store customer experience, enabling new levels of interaction that support the purchasing journey and improve sales conversions. It’s time this technology came out from behind the curtain and started featuring more at the shelf edge…


A strong case for operational excellence


RFID has been gathering momentum over the past half-decade, and its adoption is now snowballing. Superdry is one of the latest brands to scale-up its resources, implementing RFID across its global network of 200 stores following a successful UK trial. And they are not the only big brand to back this technology.


Matalan is another major investor in RFID, introducing it to 220 stores in January, while Next completed a £200 million RFID roll-out last Autumn. The impact of these moves is rippling through the sector, with Tier 2 retailers like Reiss and Mountain Warehouse piloting RFID solutions in the last 12 months.


On the whole, the decision to invest in RFID has been driven by multi-channel operations, as retailers seek to improve inventory visibility throughout the supply chain. RFID enables item-level tagging, to increase the transparency and accuracy of stock location – and reduce the stock counting burden placed on staff.

A better back-office picture positively impacts the customer journey as well. Consumers feel confident that when a retailer says an item is in-store, it really is in-store, and intelligent inventory allocation can enhance cross-channel services like Click & Collect.


Comprehensive data on stock movement and consumer purchasing behaviour has also enabled retailers to become smarter about replenishment. In some cases, RFID is empowering retail brands to reduce the amount of merchandise being held in-store, by focusing on the items that people really want to buy – and enabling shoppers to order items not in-stock at the shelf edge.


But while RFID has been transformational behind the scenes, its full value in enhancing the customer experience is only just starting to be realised.


Using RFID in the customer space


Forward-thinking retailers with a strong RFID strategy are starting to look at how it can be used in both the back-office and as a customer engagement tool.


Decathlon, for instance, is using RFID in its first US store to offer mobile checkout facilities during peak trading periods, and as a way to make shopping and paying more convenient for its customers. However, there’s a much bigger role that RFID can play besides making transactions quicker and smoother.


Incorporating RFID-enabled technology into bricks-and-mortar engagement provides retailers with a massive opportunity to create an engaging, interactive store experience. For example, One iota recently launched our new Experience Table, which uses RFID tags attached to items to unlock extensive product content.

RFID tagging enables retailers to store valuable information about each item including product details, videos and images, which shoppers can access via the Experience Table app to explore them in more detail and accelerate their journey to purchase.



In addition to accessing essential product details, retailers can offer advisory services and expertise based on the product customers are browsing – an opportunity to ‘get the full look’ if they pick up a t-shirt, for example – and even link to command requests such as getting a demo or trying the item on.


Plus, through RFID-enabled interaction, potential customers can cut out the middleman and find out directly whether an item is in stock in a different colour or size – and if that particular product is unavailable in-store, access online ordering capabilities.


These rich functionalities augment the in-store shopping experience and support sales associates in their customer engagement role, as well as making their daily operational tasks like stock checking and reordering much simpler.


It’s time for RFID to take centre stage


We’ve already seen the difference that RFID can make to retailers behind the scenes; now this technology needs to take centre stage in customer encounters.


By investing in store technologies with RFID integration, retail brands will be able to introduce the customer to self-service platforms that provide more information, interaction and opportunities than they’ve seen before in bricks-and-mortar. In addition to being impressive, RFID has the power to bring all the benefits of online shopping and back-office data to the shelf edge, creating a connection between customers and products that will boost retailers’ bottom lines.


One iota’s Experience Table uses embedded RFID technology to enhance the customer experience and convert more sales in-store. Visit our product page to find out more.

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