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Bringing continuous area reading into the shop floor

Nordic ID shares some visions of the upcoming innovations among RFID industry. Now it is time to listen to Jessica Säilä, Business Area Director of Retail at Nordic ID, and hear how she sees the role of RFID in future retail operations.

Hannu Heino, Technical Director of Nordic ID, already shed some light on his opinions about the future RFID solutions in the article "The technical possibilities of area reading". This article will continue from that and move the focus into the retail business.

"This automated, hands-free RFID inventory is somewhat of a hype, particularly in the retail sector. On the shop floor, the mobile computers have been used for RFID inventory roughly a decade. Combining any kinds of RFID readers as one system and centralizing the gathered data is the talk of the day. Such system does not take a lot effort from the user to collect the data, and such system could be applied e.g. for shop-in-shop solutions. The faster items can be sold, the more profit they tend to create. Hence being able to harness RFID for tracking items taken into the fitting rooms as well as shelf warmers offers a chance to sell more efficiently and with a higher price," Säilä explains.

Collecting data - why and for what?

Current technology trends in retail are Omni-channel, InMemory Technology/Realtime Analytics and Internet of Things, as stated by EHI Retail Institute. Furthermore, retailers are in demand of more information than ever before wanting to utilize Big Data. RFID generates information about individual products in different stages of the value chain. Adding RFID reading points brings an answer to this demand. This way the retailer knows more about their items and their locations at all times. When the item is scanned it leaves a digital mark of itself thus feeding data to a backend system. Every read has an impact on inventory visibility as well as it also enables the retailer to draw conclusions about certain trends among customers.

How would a retailer benefit from hands-free inventory according to Jessica Säilä?

1)      "Increase of inventory visibility.

2)      Assortment, sales trend, and conversion rate analytics especially when combined with
         other Big Data sources.

3)      Operational efficiency through more accurate information on own operations.

4)      More personalized customer communication through customer fronting technologies."

Let the items speak

"What if your items could tell you where they are when asked? Automated inventory in a retail store would do just that. It means you will monitor a certain area with the help of a fixed reader. When the automatic inventory is on, the items can tell you where they are and more importantly when and where they have moved. When monitoring a selected area, non-moving items are easily identified. The same would also apply to monitoring in the fitting room areas," Säilä continues.

Retail _ppt _pic

Interactive shops and personalized marketing

Utilizing customer fronting technologies is a new way of approaching customers inside a retail store. For example, interactive screens for in-store promotions are already commonly used. RFID, which is embedded to the store level would help to personalize in-store marketing by allowing the system to know for instance which items a consumer is carrying at the moment. Many retailers wish to create the same customer experience in a brick-and-mortar shop as they get online. The role of RFID in such case is to help in pushing product information to info-kiosks, displays and cellphones with consumer accepted applications; in its part adding to the personalized shopping experience. Amazingly as much as 80 percent of the customers visiting a brick-and-mortar store leaves without buying anything ( The Retail Bulletin). Imagine that a brick-and-mortar store could use similar things as the browsing data and the data of unfinished shopping carts. This could help in gathering relevant information to attract the visitors to buy.

A world with embedded RFID readers, iBeacons and other cool technologies

iBeacons help retailers to recognize where an individual shopper is. RFID reports which items are moving nearby allowing the retailer to push selected product information to a display next to the shopper. Such information is built on top of the same analytics that is already used in the web shops - suggesting completing and matching items and stating that "customers who browsed this were also interested in this one".

Today brick-and-mortar stores cannot use many analytics familiar from online stores. However, many of them might help to grow sales. An example would be unfinished shopping carts: why do consumers leave without purchase? Monitoring items and their movement, and monitoring the movement of mobile phones (with iBeacons) will build up data, which will be a basis for similar analysis in physical store environment. This data can further be utilized for personalized marketing as well as pushing the shopper to finish the purchase with additional perks, such as discounts if you buy today. Again, a method known from online sales.

Säilä concludes: "An automated, hands-free RFID inventory can bring brick-and-mortar shopping experience closer to that of an online store, and both sales channels into the peak of today's trends. It will improve product availability, thus growing sales, and it will add to Big Data helping in its turn retailers to be more competitive in their environment. In the future, different RFID reading points will increase, and they will even be embedded as parts of shelves, ceilings and mirrors for instance. Once the readers are embedded as a part of retail stores, all customer communication is more exact and more personalized. The customer is able to choose by herself which products she wants to learn more about."

Jessica Spring 2011_web 

Jessica Säilä, Business Area Director (Retail) at Nordic ID

7 comments on “Bringing continuous area reading into the shop floor”

  1. Posted Thursday, July 28, 2016 at 2:01:11 PM

    Collecting data could help you a lot. Actually, it puts your business on a scientific basis, which is correct, as I think.

  2. Posted Saturday, August 27, 2016 at 12:09:18 PM

    This is pleasant article. I might want to a debt of gratitude is in order for your endeavors and recommendations. I truly acknowledge to this article.

  3. Posted Saturday, August 27, 2016 at 1:50:14 PM

    I must say we should have an online discussion on this.

  4. Posted Saturday, August 27, 2016 at 2:24:30 PM

    This post has helped me for an article which I am writing. Thank you for giving me another point of view on this topic. Now I can easily complete my article.

  5. Posted Saturday, August 27, 2016 at 2:55:17 PM

    Thanx for sharing such useful post keep it up :)

  6. Posted Monday, August 29, 2016 at 11:01:30 AM

    Another great post, I appreciate all the work you put into this site, helping out others with fun and imaginative works.

  7. Gravatar of Virginia LutherVirginia Luther
    Posted Friday, June 09, 2017 at 7:50:13 AM

    Thanks

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