Why RFID Is The Smart Choice For Retailers

14 August 2023

Step into most stores and you will see a range of services designed to meet customer expectations, from click & collect, curbside pickup and fulfilment from store, omnichannel retail has transformed the way we shop.

By using RFID to tag your products, you can easily track inventory, monitor stock movement, and optimise supply chains. This not only reduces manual labour but also enables faster restocking and better purchase decisions. In a report published by Zebra, companies who invest in RFID typically had an improvement in inventory accuracy between 93-99%

Improved stock tracking isn’t the only benefit, the technology can also be used to enhance the shopping experience for your customers. RFID can help shoppers quickly find products and make informed purchasing choices, eliminate frustration from product availability issues, and much more.

What is RFID?

RFID is a wireless technology that uses radio waves to identify and track objects, goods, and people. Over the last few years, this technology has gained lots of traction, particularly in retail.

RFID tags are small electronic devices that can be attached to products, cases, or pallets. These tags contain a unique identification number, which can be read as they pass through a fixed reader or by using a handheld RFID reader. The reader sends radio waves to the tag, which then responds with its unique identification number.

It’s possible to break down RFID technology into three parts: tags, the reader, and middleware. The tag is attached to the object being tracked, the reader reads the tag, and the middleware is the software that processes the data collected by the reader.

Unlike barcodes, RFID technology can read multiple tags at once, without requiring a direct line of sight. This makes it much faster and more efficient than barcode scanning. RFID tags can also store much more data than barcodes, making it possible to track additional information such as the temperature, location, and the expiration date of the products being tracked.

What can you do with an RFID solution?

Increase your inventory accuracy

One key advantage of RFID tagging is its ability to conduct quick and accurate inventory tracking. Instead of manually scanning individual barcodes, your employees can simply walk through the store with a mobile device and RFID reader such as the RFD40 sled from Zebra, capturing data from multiple items simultaneously. This not only saves time but also improves inventory accuracy by reducing human errors.

Taking it a step further, fixed readers can be placed throughout the store and back office, allowing you to easily track inventory movement, stock levels and trigger reorders when necessary. This proactive approach helps prevent out-of-stock situations and ensures that popular items are always available for your customers.

Enhance your supply chain visibility

With RFID tagging, you gain access to real-time data on product movement from manufacturing facilities to distribution centres and finally to your store shelves. This enables you to monitor inventory levels accurately at every stage and make informed decisions regarding restocking, distribution, and individual customer purchase order history.

The real-time visibility and asset tracking also allows for improved demand forecasting and better collaboration with suppliers. By analysing sales patterns, you can identify trends more accurately and adjust ordering strategies.

Improve operational efficiency and reduce costs

RFID readers can scan multiple retail assets simultaneously, reducing the time required for stock checks and minimising disruptions to your store operations. This efficiency translates into cost savings by freeing up employees’ time for more value-added tasks.

RFID technology also helps enhance loss prevention measures. By tagging high-value assets or those prone to theft, security teams can receive instant alerts if any tagged item leaves the store without being properly purchased. This helps deter shoplifting and reduces shrinkage, ultimately protecting your profit margins.

Enhance your customers’ experience through RFID

Stock counting and asset tracking isn’t the only use for RFID, it can also be used to greatly enhance your customers’ experience in-store.

Streamline your checkout process

One of the most time-consuming aspects of shopping is the checkout process, where customers often find themselves waiting in long queues. With the clever use of RFID technology, the process can be streamlined to provide your customers with a faster checkout experience.

RFID-enabled point-of-sale systems help eliminate manual scanning at the till. With traditional barcode scanning, each individual item needs to be scanned one by one, leading to delays and longer wait times for shoppers. RFID technology takes this process to a whole new level by allowing multiple items to be scanned simultaneously. This not only saves time but also reduces the risk of human error during scanning.

Take in-store interaction to the next level

RFID technology enables interactive product displays that engage shoppers on a whole new level. Instead of relying solely on traditional signage or limited product descriptions, these displays utilise RFID tags to provide real-time information about items.

As customers interact with products equipped with RFID tags, they can receive instant details such as pricing, offers, availability, product features, and even customer reviews. This interactivity empowers shoppers to make informed decisions without having to seek assistance from sales associates.

For example:

  • A clothing store could have mirrors equipped with RFID readers that detect tagged garments. Customers standing in front of these mirrors would see additional information like available sizes and colours.
  • A grocery store might have kiosks next to fresh produce, allowing customers to learn about the origin, nutritional value, and recipe ideas for each item as they are picked up.

By making product information readily accessible through RFID technology, you can improve the overall shopping experience and empower your customers to make confident purchasing decisions.

Provide seamless returns and exchanges

Returns and exchanges are an integral part of the retail experience. However, they can often be time-consuming and frustrating for both your customers and store colleagues. RFID technology streamlines this process by enabling quick item identification.

When a customer brings back an item with an embedded RFID tag, the reader instantly recognises it. This eliminates the need for manual scanning or searching through receipts, making returns and exchanges faster and more efficient. Your staff can also use RFID to verify that returned items are in their original condition before issuing refunds or exchanges.

With seamless returns facilitated by RFID, your customers enjoy a hassle-free experience that enhances their satisfaction with your customer service. This can lead to improved customer loyalty and repeat business.

RFID vs. Barcodes: A Comparison in Retail

  • In terms of speed and accuracy, RFID has proven to be superior. Scanning products equipped with RFID tags can be identified and tracked within seconds, leading to more efficient inventory management and faster checkout processes.
  • While barcodes provide limited information about a product, RFID can store vast amounts of data, including unique identifiers, product details, and even shipping information. This wealth of information allows you to track products at every stage of the supply chain, from manufacturing to point of sale.
  • Unlike barcodes that can fade or become unreadable due to wear and tear or exposure to harsh environments, RFID tags are designed for longevity. They can withstand rough handling during transportation and remain intact even in extreme conditions such as moisture or high temperatures.
  • Using RFID in retail offers cost-saving benefits in the long run. Although the initial investment may seem higher compared to barcode systems, RFID proves more economical over time due to its efficiency and accuracy.
  • RFID enables real-time tracking and monitoring of products throughout your supply chain. This level of visibility allows you to identify bottlenecks or delays promptly and take necessary actions to ensure smooth operations. By having a comprehensive overview of stock levels across multiple stores or warehouses at any given moment, you can make informed decisions regarding restocking needs or redistribution strategies.
  • RFID technology also enhances security measures in retail environments by deterring thefts and improved anti-counterfeiting features. The unique identifiers on RFID tags can be used to authenticate products, ensuring that customers receive genuine items.


Adopting RFID technology is a fantastic way of staying competitive and It empowers you with real-time data insights, improves operational efficiency, enhances the shopping experience for your customers, and ultimately drives revenue growth.

To take your retail business to the next level with RFID technology, its best to:

  • Research different suppliers offering RFID solutions tailored to your specific needs.
  • Evaluate case studies from other retailers who have successfully implemented RFID.
  • Consider conducting a pilot program to test the effectiveness of RFID in your own store.
  • Train your staff on how to use and maximise the benefits of this technology.
  • Stay updated on emerging trends and advancements in the field of retail-focused RFID solutions.

Ready to test drive RFID in your store?

Investing in an efficient and reliable system like RFID can help you unlock new opportunities, boost profitability, and create a seamless shopping experience for your customers. If you are interested in finding out how RFID can help in your retail operations, contact our team of experts to get started.

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