RFID in Retail Apparel

Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is gaining acceptance in several business sectors. In fact, RFID is expected to play a key role to create value and develop efficiency across almost every segment of businesses. Retail industry, especially the apparel retain industry, is investing heavily in this pathbreaking technology. According to experts, adoption in apparel retail is being driven by the clear return on investment. With the help of RFID technology, retailers can aim for higher sales by ensuring that they have the right product on the shelf, in the correct size and color, and at the same time lower their inventory costs due to a more accurate supply chain. In last couple of years, major retailers have run pilots of RFID item-level tagging for their clothing business and they have noticed that implementation of RFID technology — both throughout the supply chain and in-store —increases product availability, which is essential to improving sales figures.

Major Retailers Who Have Embraced RFID

Retail majors such as Marks & Spencer and Decathlon integrated RFID technology in their businesses processes in 2016. One of the largest American department store chain, Macy’s, equipped all its Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores with RFID technology to improve inventory tracking in 2017. Additionally, the world’s biggest fashion retailer, Zara, deployed RFID to keep better track of inventory and restock its clothing racks more quickly.

Retailers Undertaking RFID Pilot Projects

Fashion brands like Salvatore Ferragamo, John Lewis have been experimenting with the RFID technology since last few years.  Salvatore Ferragamo has started inserting RFID tags in its footwear and accessories, whereas John Lewis, after experimenting with the RFID technology for nearly 10 years, is now introducing it in some 30 of its stores. Most of its fashion range will be RFID-enabled in the coming years. Global apparel retailer River Island has also undertaken a pilot RFID project. It reported a 10% increase in its sales when RFID technology was implemented in many of its stores. Tellingly, the retailer experienced a corresponding drop in sales in those stores when RFID technology was removed after the trial. So, how exactly is RFID technology helping the apparel retailers? As mentioned earlier, RFID technology is helping retailers in their stores as well as in their supply chain.

Retailers Using RFID In-Store

The retailers attach RFID tags to every item of clothing. These tags enable the staff in the store to identify all items of clothing on the shop’s shelves and racks. RFID technology can also be used to create a more personalized and targeted experience for shoppers. RFID can help retailers to impress customers by greeting them by name, remembering their shopping preferences, offering them a wider selection of clothing merchandise, and providing them faster assistance. Since RFID can track items in the stores, it can help in preventing theft and saving retailers from huge losses. Furthermore, the biggest advantage of the RFID technology for the fashion industry is that RFID can help in differentiating between the original and the counterfeit products. RFID can help retailers to authenticate products.

Retailers Using RFID In Supply Chain and Inventory Management

The implementation of RFID technology in supply chain facilitates enhanced accuracy, precise docking, and faster, more accurate shipments, and increases the efficiency and reliability of the entire chain. RFID also plays an important role in asset tracking and management for retailers. British multinational retailer Marks & Spencer is looking to adopt RFID asset tracking for equipment like roll cages and display racks. Inventory tracking with RFID has made life easier for the retailers. Earlier, retailers had to spent hours and hours on inventory taking. But now, thanks to RFID-powered technology, they can walk around the store and get the job done quickly and efficiently. Apparel retailers are always on the lookout for ways to operate more efficiently and implement cost-saving technologies that can set themselves apart from the competition and improve the shopping experience. GAO RFID offers several RFID Readers and RFID Tags for garment tracking in retail stores, for inventory control, and supply chain etc. Though the apparel retail industry is on RFID adoption spree, according to reports, in 2016, 4.6 billion clothing items carried RFID tags which is not even 10% of the total apparel market. Thus, the potential for growth in retail and apparel is enormous.]]>

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