By Ally Kutz, contributing writer
Radio frequency identification (RFID) is set to revolutionize and reinvent the shopping experience, according to advisory firm KMPG.
The firm echoes a report from a presentation at BlueStar’s VARTECH, that states the ROI of RFID for retailers includes eliminating inventory “touches” and data errors, improving visibility, reducing inventory levels and out of stock items, and reducing expedited shipments.
KMPG reports through the use of RFID tags in retail — smart tags that contain a unique number describing the product — retailers can drastically reduce overstocked and out-of-stocked items. This can have a large impact on the retail economy: overstocks total about $471.9 billion each year and out-of-stocks total approximately $634.1.
In addition to reducing these costs, KMPG reports RFID is helping retailers in other ways. E-tailers are using RFID to help have a brick-and-mortar presence. For example, eBay has partnered with Rebecca Minkoff in New York and San Francisco to set up “magic mirrors” in the store that use RFID tags to identify items in the changing rooms and show other colors or sizes as well as recommend additional items. In the future, customers will be able to instantly purchase items thanks to RFID, reducing a wait in a checkout line, and loyalty programs can also integrate with the technology.
Retail isn’t the only vertical market that can benefit from RFID. This technology is also becoming common in healthcare. A guest column from Panasonic on BSMinfo.com lists uses including inventory management, patient and personnel tracking, and collecting real-time data on equipment or personnel.
Schools are, in addition to using the technology for asset management, using RFID to ensure students boarded school buses and exited at the appropriate stop. And manufacturers can use RFID tags to track progress through an assembly line — with the benefit of not having to have the tag in the line of sight for it to work.
As different markets are discovering the ways RFID can benefit them, it’s important to be aware of these uses and be ready to offer solutions that can help your IT customers leverage this technology to decrease costs, increase efficiency, and open doors to new possibilities.