RFID Talk Blog

Retailers predict item level tagging could reach mass adoption by the end of 2012

By the middle of next year, item level RFID will be well on the road to mass adoption by retailers. That was the message coming out of Tuesday morning’s meeting of the Item Level RFID Initiative, held at the NRF show in New York. The meeting was attended by more than 100 retailers, suppliers, technology providers and members of academia.

The immediate goal of the group, which was formed in June and formally announced in November, will be to publish industry guidelines and business case roadmaps for item level return on investment for both retailers and suppliers. The group will also study serialization issues, tagging compliance and how to handle the massive amounts of data that retailers and suppliers will soon harness from RFID.

“The technology is here and it’s pretty exciting what we will have the ability to do,” says Cynthia DiPietrantonio, chief operations officer for Jones Apparel, which operates retail stores and also manufacturers apparel goods sold through other retailers like Macys.

“No matter how good the utilization of the bar code is, it is woefully short of what you can accomplish with RFID technology,” says Peter Longo, president of logistics and operations for Macy’s, which announced it is rolling out item level RFID to four product segments and seven stores.

The joining of Walmart, JC Penney, Kohls, Jones Apparel, Macy’s, Dillard’s, Levi Strauss and others in the Item Level RFID Initiative will likely lead to the biggest retail supply chain transformation since the bar code was introduced.

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