Retailers initially embraced RFID for the powerful gains in inventory accuracy that the technology enables. RFID is far from a one-show pony, however. Retailers are quickly building additional use cases into their business plans, including enhanced consumer engagement, security and loss prevention.
A French sports retailer announced this week that it plans to deploy RFID for loss prevention at more than 400 stores in 19 countries. The project entails the upgrading of all existing electronic article surveillance (EAS) antennas to hybrid RF/RFID antennas. The retailer expects to have the solution fully operational at all stores by March 2014.
The store locations that were initially equipped with Nedap Retail RF EAS antennas are in the process of being upgraded to dual technology RF and RFID EAS systems. Nedap Retail, a provider of retail solutions based in Groenlo, the Netherlands, says that hybrid EAS systems offer both RF and RFID detection combined in one pedestal. All future new stores will be equipped with RF/RFID EAS systems.
Using RFID for loss prevention purposes has many advantages, especially if merchandise is already tagged with RFID for inventory accuracy purposes.
“In that case, it makes sense to also use the RFID label for loss prevention purposes since attaching another label costs additional time and money,” says Rob Schuurman, managing director at Nedap Retail. “But we also see that retailers choose RFID antennas for other reasons, for example to eliminate false alarms and for design reasons since overhead antennas keep the entrance of the store wide open.”
With hybrid antennas, retailers applying RFID for product traceability can gradually switch from RF to RFID for loss prevention and benefit from the fact that products are already RFID-labeled. Retailers can gradually replace RF with RFID labels during the transition phase or apply dual protection on selected product groups with a high theft risk.
“Our hybrid !D Gate antenna is a unique solution for retailers, who want to implement RFID in the future,” says Schuurman. “As both RF and RFID label detection are combined in one pedestal, retailers can protect their loss prevention investments by selecting future-proof hardware. As the !D Gate pedestals are RFID ready, the RFID upgrade is literally a clip-in module thus significantly limiting the overall hardware investment costs.”
The !D Gate is a floor-mounted pedestal with an integrated RFID reader, which can trace incoming goods, the movement of goods from the back room to the sales floor and goods leaving the store. The !D Gate can also be used as a hybrid EAS (electronic article surveillance) system at the store entrance that offers both RF and RFID detection combined in one free standing pedestal.