RFID Talk Blog

Survey: More than three-quarters of retailers have piloted or deployed RFID

RFID in retail is getting closer to becoming ubiquitous, and 2012 is expected to represent a watershed year for the technology. A new survey conducted by the VICS Item-Level RFID Initiative (VILRI) — a group of advocates for the use of EPC-enabled RFID in the retail supply chain — reveals that 80 percent of retailers have either initiated pilots or deployed RFID to track item sales in their stores.

The report, co-produced by Accenture, surveyed 56 retailers and 58 suppliers in North America. Aside from confirming that item-level adoption is rapidly gaining traction, the report also indicates that item-level RFID may be creating a competitive advantage for early adopters by giving them better inventory accuracy, visibility and insight, enabling them to improve in-stock positions and increase sales.

In addition, the technology can now drive improvements several orders of magnitude better than current standard methods. For example, completing a store inventory, once a project of days or weeks, can now be tallied lightning-fast and almost error free.

The report also noted that the costs of RFID tags are falling, and will continue to fall as the rate of adoption increases. (Click here to see how pricing will shape up for 2012).

Additionally, most major apparel and footwear retailers will adopt RFID technology in some part of their business within the next three to five years if recent momentum continues.

At this week’s NRF Big Show, Macy’s  chief administrative offer Tom Cole said that it is only a matter of time before RFID tags are on every item and become as common as bar codes.

“What’s important is that we move this forward as an industry,” Cole said during NRF on Sunday. “RFID will be a competitive advantage in the beginning, but ultimately, like bar codes, it just depends on who uses it better. Whoever puts it to the best use will win.”

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