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Global traction continues for item level RFID in apparel

RFID is sizzling when it comes to retail deployments. Tyco Retail Solutions reports an increase in deployments this summer, with 10 leading global fashion retailers and department stores unveiling pilots or moving to full deployments by the end of next month.

Nancy Chisholm, vice president and general manager, Tyco Retail Solutions, says she expects an additional 350 stores around the world to deploy RFID solutions this summer, including some elite retailers that have not yet publicized that they are using the technology.

RFID in apparel

Retailers like Macy's continue to deploy item level RFID solutions.

In January, Tyco said it expected to double the 1,000 retail locations using its technology by this fall. The company also said it would ship more than 750 million of its Sensormatic brand RFID tags (with the ability to be re-circulated) by this fall, representing growth of more than 250 percent.

Some of the major retailers that have rolled out RFID include Macy’s, American Apparel, and Kohl’s, which recently informed some vendors that it will require RFID tags on all products from national brands beginning Aug. 1. Aside from improved inventory visibility, a full deployment of RFID can lead to improved customer loyalty and omni-channel retailing strategies.

Macy’s is accelerating its omni-channel retail strategy by rapidly deploying RFID technology. A leader in RFID adoption, Macy’s plans to extend its store-based fulfillment capability to 500 stores this year, powered by the inventory accuracy provided by item level RFID.

Nearly 50 percent of Macy’s replenishment vendors are committed to deliver RFID-tagged products in the future, and the retailer expects that 10 percent of its total replenishment inventory will carry RFID tags by August.

ChainLink Research’s Bill McBeath says that the retail sector is going through huge transformative changes.

“Retailers, who are typically cautious about technology spending, are taking bold steps, catalyzed by the need to provide full omni-channel integration, a differentiated customer experience, and improved margins,” he says in a recent article. “These are enabled by new technology developments in cloud solutions, wireless, mobile, payment, in-store technologies, and RFID. In fact, RFID is a core foundation that unlocks item-level, context-aware intelligence and utility that is the basis for many of the changes we are undergoing in retail, such as self-checkout, location-based services, mobile shopping and promotions, smart mirrors and dressing rooms, warranty management, asset tracking, store management/optimization, inventory management, loss prevention, and much more.”

“We firmly believe in the relevancy and influence of the retail store and will continue to invest in solutions designed to help improve store performance, ensure security and support an omni-channel strategy,” says Chisholm.

“With a keen eye towards increasing sales and improving customer satisfaction, our global customers acknowledge the immediate and dramatic results of RFID to improve the retail environment and support the needs of today’s savvy consumer. We are grateful to partner with some of the biggest names in retail on innovative and effective RFID initiatives.”

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