Category Archives: Item Level Tagging

RFID Growing Too Big for Its Britches?

RFID Growth Spurt Leads to Tech Shortages.

We’ve been talking about the growth and ROI benefits of item-level RFID, particularly in retail.

Supply Chain Digest reports that WalMart’s new apparel tagging program has helped lead to a supply drop in RFID EPC Gen 2 inlays, and that mobile RFID readers are now also in short supply. Why so? Lots of investment in RFID initiatives, including WalMart’s recent order for 20,000 Motorola mobile RFID readers, combined with “supply constraints that have lasted for months in basic electrical components that have cause delivery problems in a wide number of high tech gear, including mobile devices.”

In fact, Supply Chain Digest says that analysts at a major financial investment firm are predicting 300 percent market growth in RFID asset management for 2011.

Do you expect to join that growth, and invest in RFID for asset management and inventory visibility in the next year?

Read the Supply Chain Digest article.

See more about RFID printing/encoding here, where you can find resources such as our white paper “Traceability in Retail—Reducing RFID Media Costs for Best Value.”

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If a Four-Store Retailer Can Profit from Item-Level RFID, Couldn’t You?

Item-Level RFID ROI a Shoe-in for Florida Retailer

Giants like Wal-Mart aren’t the only retailers using item-level RFID to improve inventory accuracy and reduce inventory-related labor costs. An article in RFIDJournal.com explains how “Florida shoe retailer Peltz Shoes has saved approximately 1,500 man-hours in the past year by applying a passive RFID tag to every box containing a pair of shoes at each of its four stores.”

Just so happens the store is using RFID printers from Zebra Technologies to encode the RFID labels and print each with a price, description and bar code. 

Check out the article.

What do you think—do you foresee your own stores implementing item-level RFID anytime soon? Do you think you could achieve the level of return on investment Peltz Shoes has?

For more about item-level tagging benefits, read this white paper. The paper also explores how “on-pitch” RFID printing and encoding technology can ensure data encoding accuracy while helping to improve ROI by reducing the cost of RFID label media by as much as 10 percent.

Discover more about RFID printing/encoding and Zebra RFID printer/encoders.

Walmart Announces Item-Level RFID. Will You Be Next?

Walmart has officially launched an item-level RFID initiative requiring some suppliers to tag such apparel items as jeans and socks. You may have seen the report in the July 23 Wall Street Journal.

In RFID Journal’s report the same day, Myron Burke, Walmart’s director of store innovation, explained, “We are focused on items that require a more complex purchasing decision by the customer. With denim, the customer has to make a decision based on brand, style, size and cut, in addition to price, of course. There are other areas of the store where we sell items with similar attributes. Tires are one. Some electronics items, such as TVs, are another.”

RFID Journal also points to an Aberdeen Group survey that shows 57 percent of retailers use or plan to use RFID item-level tagging.

How about you? Do you see enough ROI from item-level tagging that you expect your stores to implement it anytime soon? If so, what sorts of items would you tag?

Read more about the ROI benefits of retail item-level tagging in our earlier blog article, and in the white paper “Traceability in Retail—Reducing RFID Media Costs for Best Value.”

RFID Tags and QR Codes Speaking Volumes About Resale Items’ History

We’ve explored both the use of apparel RFID tagging in retail, and the potential for QR codes. Now we’ve discovered a new use for both! Seems a charity shop in U.K. uses the two technologies to attach a personal story about each piece of clothing as told by the clothing’s donator. Shop visitors can listen to the audio clips via the shop’s RFID readers and audio speakers, or by reading the QR codes via their smart phones. The stories help enhance the value and appeal of the items for potential buyers. Thanks to RetailWire.com for pointing us to the article.

Do you see a place for such a concept in other retail applications?

For more on RFID in retail, check out this white paper: Traceability in Retail—Reducing RFID Media Costs for Best Value.

Click here to learn more about RFID printing/encoding in general.

Check Out RFID Journal’s Webinar for Apparel Retailers

Well, Shelf Talker just got done talking about How the Apparel Industry is Realizing the Benefits of RFID item-level tracking, when RFID Journal announced a webinar you may find of interest. The webinar is today, June 23, at 2 p.m. EDT—but will also be viewable on-demand. To register for “RFID Made Easy for Apparel Retailers: Cost-Effective Ways to Deploy RFID in Soft Goods Stores,” click here. Find RFIDJournal.com’s archived webinars at the bottom of this page.

To learn more about RFID and RFID printing/encoding, click here.

How the Apparel Industry is Realizing the Benefits of RFID

Nearly 15 billion pairs of shoes and 10 billion fashion apparel items ship from manufacturers every year. The ongoing costs for conducting manual inventory of these items, managing out-of-stocks, and preventing theft are enormous. Regardless, products must move—and that’s where item-level RFID tracking comes to the rescue.

In prior decades, most manufacturers and retail suppliers resided in North America. Today, the vast majority of apparel arrives from diverse geographical regions. This mix and match of sources and suppliers creates challenges that ripple throughout the supply chain. Manufactures must wait for their customers to verify the receipt of each shipment before seeing payment. Inventory is often miscounted or lost, and duplicate efforts create wastage. With perpetual inventories running at 60-70 percent, retailers remain hard pressed to make proactive business decisions for creating in-store sales lift.     

To address these issues, apparel retailers have quietly begun adopting item-level RFID initiatives. RFID-enabled traceability can provide 100 percent inventory accuracy, giving retailers visibility into what is selling, where, and when—powerful metrics that marketing departments can use to create branding and customer loyalty campaigns. RFID tags contain ample data storage for a wide range of information and applications. For example, tags attached to apparel can contain three dimensions of information such as style, size, and color. Store associates can read RFID tags on garments hanging on a mobile rack, or read the tags at the point of sale. The ability to know that a specific item is available when a customer walks into the store helps ensure the sale, and enhances the customer experience.

The proof is in the results. Last year, the University of Arkansas Information Technology Research Institute completed a study to determine the business value of RFID item-level tagging for day-to-day operations at a major luxury retailer. The results demonstrated that overall inventory accuracy improved by more than 27 percent, understocks decreased by 21 percent, and overstocks decreased by 6 percent. The benefits of item-level tagging vary greatly depending on the retailer’s specific business and market. Specialty apparel retailers that design, source, and sell products bearing their own brands are realizing significant results such as a 14 percent sales lift, and a 90 percent reduction in the time required to conduct weekly inventory.

Achieving 100 percent inventory accuracy clearly drives improved inventory management, which meets a critical apparel industry initiative. Using RFID for inventory management immediately improves on-shelf availability of merchandise, and enables a wide range of customer-friendly applications such as smart checkout, smart fitting rooms, and product locating tools.

RFID Printers/Encoders

For more information about item-level RFID tagging, see www.epcglobalinc.org and www.gs1.org.