Last year retailers made significant investments in RFID and sensor technology to enhance the consumer shopping experience. This year, RFID will start to become part of the retailing infrastructure, much like ERP, CRM and other enterprise systems — making the impact of the “whole RFID solution” greater than the sum of its individual parts.
Successfully deploying RFID across multiple aspects of the business is less about the tangible aspect of readers, tags and software, and more about intangible factors, such as process improvement, education, supply chain management, business alignment and customer-facing operations.
RFID technology is designed to automate repetitive tasks for store associates so they can spend more time assisting customers. However, much of the feedback that Checkpoint Systems received from store managers last year indicated that tasks such as monitoring new hardware, replacing batteries, tagging garments in the back room and fulfilling omni-channel orders was actually creating more work for associates.
The challenge was not with the technology itself, but the fact that so many new initiatives were launched at once, such as beacons, kiosks, mobile checkout, omni-channel fulfillment, etc.
It’s clear that stores already have enough to do, and will be asked to do more in the future to enhance the shopping experience. Checkpoint’s Su Doyle says that there are several ways retailers can reduce the burden on store operations, including shifting logistics tasks, such as tagging and encoding, back to source manufacturing. In addition, providing remote device monitoring services and adding RFID verification to back room processes such as order picking, packing and shipping can help to solve this problem.