With Amazon Prime Day having just passed, it makes one question the future of modern retail as we know it. In the changing tides of this sector, how will physical stores meet the demand of the ever connected shopper, someone who is expecting everything to be an experience, and a fast one at that? The bridge between the digital needs with the analog wants can be solved with four simple letters: RFID.
It’s an acronym that’s been floating around a lot recently, and for good reason. Recent developments in this technology have made it much more affordable for businesses to consider implementing RFID in their stores. Some of the biggest benefits are as follows:
Numerous Logistical Uses
Smart shelving, inventory control and detail, line busting, and employee security; just to name a few of the logistical uses. Given that the basics of RFID are assigning digital identification (using RFID encoded media) to a physical object (making that object “smart”), the application of the technology is only limited to the program managing the information and the imagination of the business using it. Logistical retail nightmares such as replenishment (especially during peak season) become a breeze with real time updates on what items are where, and what needs stocked.
A Durable Technology
Unlike a barcode that needs light to read it, in some cases can’t get wet, and needs to be on a relatively flat surface, an RFID embedded stock can go virtually any place. According to RFID Insider, RFID inlays (depending on the stock they are used in) can last for up to 15 years, making them a durable long term solution.
Data Collection, Made Easy
Imagine a mountain of data contained in a space of 3.5 by 2 inches, the average businesses reward card size. The consumer loads points and gets rewards, but the business can also see in what part of the store customer 00003 is spending the bulk of their time. A business can start to see trends that an emailed survey wouldn’t be able to show, that is to say, if it even gets filled out.
Interactive Experiences with Customers
A big way for retailers to connect with their customers is through interactive, memorable experiences. Stores have tried to do this before from K-Mart’s blue light sales to Abercrombie’s scantily-clad models, but in the end, gimmicks can only do so much. The best experience for a customer is to go into the store, know the store has what they need, find it easily, and get out quickly. Even though retail stores have inventory systems, items get moved, and if the item is not physically where the customer thinks it is, it can cause frustration for the customer and the employee who can’t find it. Real time tracking with RFID can show the customer where the item is, regardless of where the computer says it’s supposed to be.
The RFID experience comes with countless opportunities to upsell. A customer carried a blender in the store for an hour, then set it back on the shelf? Send them a coupon for 30% off blenders. A set of golf clubs and balls are in a shopping cart? “Don’t forget the golf tees!” is pushed right to their phone. It’s all the data of online shopping combined with the real world experience.