While the on-demand economy has led to many brick-and-mortar stores declining, NXP Semiconductors reports that omnichannel services continue to grow. Smart supply chain management with advanced tracking and monitoring capabilities enabled by RAIN RFID support both short- and extended-range communication, NXP reports, and are empowering retailers to address a multitude of new use cases.
In combination with consumer-to-goods interaction, NXP says, Near Field Communication (NFC) tags are being increasingly adopted as key elements of consumer interaction and loyalty strategies. Interactive store functionalities, brand verification solutions and contactless payment with NFC smartphones are also gaining traction as an integral part of the consumer shopping experience.
Here are the top global trends in RFID for the retail market, according to NXP:
Trend 1: Retailers are embracing RFID to enhance the smart consumer shopping experience
Smart fitting rooms are equipped with intelligent mirrors to assist and enhance the shopping experience. Smart mirrors read the RAIN RFID tags of merchandise and display the items on a touchscreen behind the mirror`s glass, while a recommendation engine displays matching accessories, such as shoes or a purse.
By enabling interaction between customers and shop assistants, or feedback from friends via social media, smart fitting rooms can meet the demands of customers that perceive smart connectivity as a natural enhancement of the shopping experience. Some high-end retailers, like Ralph Lauren and Rebecca Minkoff, have credited interactive changing rooms for a 30 percent increase in sales, NXP reports (see Polo Ralph Lauren Store Gets Smart Fitting Rooms, Rebecca Minkoff Adds RFID to More Stores, Boosts Sales and Rebecca Minkoff Store Uses RFID to Provide an Immersive Experience).
Trend 2: Retailers are leveraging RAIN RFID for omnichannel smart supply chain management
With the advent of the on-demand economy, multichannel processes and omnichannel retailing have grown considerably to address the need for accurate information about stock and the location of goods. According to NXP, brick-and-mortar stores are leveraging predictive analysis software that allows the optimization of processes and enables retailers to recognize sales potential in order to introduce new and special click-and-collect departments into the store.
In order to power such solutions and turn big data into smart data, retailers are utilizing RAIN RFID technology, as it delivers accurate real-time data to software analytics. Some retailers have found that smart supply chain management helps maximize shares in the competitive customer market. For example, sports retailer Decathlon has reported that its sales have increased by 2.5 percent with improved stock visibility (see Decathlon Scores a Big Win With RFID and Decathlon Sees Sales Rise and Shrinkage Drop, Aided by RFID). In addition, Macy`s has reported that it has reduced inventory costs by $1 billion as a result of its RFID implementation (see Macy`s to RFID-Tag 100 Percent of Items and Macy`s Launches Pick to the Last Unit Program for Omnichannel Sales).
Trend 3: Retailers are integrating RAIN RFID solutions to monitor perishable goods
For food retailers, NXP reports, getting the products from the warehouse to the shelves at the right time before expiration is a challenge. These industries often lack accurate insight into the durability of perishable goods in inventory. This results in unnecessary waste worth $162 billion annually, as well as health risks and environmental impact. According to an industry study, a $10 billion retailer can reduce losses by up to $60 million a year through effective shrinkage and freshness management.
To maximize such savings, food retailers are conducting large-scale testing of RAIN RFID solutions, including tracking and sensing technologies for monitoring temperature and humidity levels. Such solutions allow distributors, logistics companies and wholesalers to locate their orders online in real time. In combination with electronic shelf labels, retailers would be able to react to expiration dates with reduced prices, or make general sales campaigns directly visible to customers.
Trend 4: Enhanced consumer interaction and contactless payment via smartphones with NFC will continue to gain traction
Products for the retail ecosystem include reader chips enabling smartphones to read NFC tags and establish an Internet of Things connection, as well as reader chips at the point of sale that enable secure contactless payments via smartphones or payment cards. According to NXP, contactless payment is increasingly seen, by both customers and retail partners, as an integral part of a seamless shopping experience.
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