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Retailers debate handheld readers versus fixed infrastructure

As more and more retailers adopt RFID, the use of handheld readers is accelerating for inventory management and customer service applications. But as the number of RFID devices grow, information technology and supply chain executives are struggling to manage hundreds — sometimes thousands — of handheld readers.

Retailers are weighing the pros and cons of handheld readers vs. fixed infrastructure.

As a result, many retailers are exploring the use of hands-free RFID solutions. Although hands-free solutions are relatively new in retail, they are common in other verticals like industrial manufacturing. Today, a growing number of retailers, including American Apparel and Levi Strauss, are considering fixed infrastructure systems.

Handheld readers are inexpensive to deploy and are becoming even more cost effective as RFID sleds for smart phones become more readily available. Store associates see them as familiar extensions to their smart phones or tablets.

Alternatively, RFID fixed readers are a cost effective way to track inventory movements at key transition points in stores, such as the receiving dock, at the point of exit, between the back room and sales floor, at the point of sale, in fitting rooms or high-turnover areas

The reality is that choosing between handheld and hands-free solutions can be complicated. So how does a retailer choose one RFID reader solution over the other? This article discusses different deployment scenarios to help you evaluate the best fit for your business.

Click here to read RFID Reader Considerations for Retail

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