One side-effect of 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic has been a heightened awareness of “safety” in the realm of hygiene, especially food and groceries. Early last year we were treated to videos of how to handle your groceries after you bring them home and generated such a high volume of prepared food delivery that we developed “contactless” delivery where someone in a mask rushes up to your door and leaves a non-descript package in front of it before texting you to get you to open the door (yes, how things have changed!).
2020, for all its faults, is the year that almost every company and business “decided” to finally jump into Ecommerce. This includes not only selling online directly to end users, but the various means of getting the product into their hands including in-store fulfillment. While Retailers’ online sites in 2018 totaled sales over $400 billion, they will far exceed that in 2020 and are expected to grow to over $700 billion in 2020, with some of the fastest growth coming in food and beverage (23.4% - 58.5%) and health and beauty increasing from 16.6% to 32.4%. (source: eMarketer.com). That pace along with the expected drop in total brick-and-mortar sales means Ecommerce will make up over 14% of total retail sales in 2020.
While it is easy for those of us in the industry to convey the impression that RFID has already taken over the world when it was (and of course, still IS) fighting its way into the mainstream of management visibility, it’s nice to see the evolution of the last decade finally get the attention of the boardroom with headlines like this:
Retailers are experiencing a shift as consumer shopping habits have changed over the last few years. Though many well-known traditional retailers are shuttering their doors, the growth of online purchasing continues at a rapid pace.
With such unprecedented changes come a few growing pains. One of the most significant is the high volume of returns. With the current system, this epidemic of returns is costing retailers an estimated $260 billion in lost revenue per year.
In 1945, Léon Theremin invented a listening device for the Soviet Union which retransmitted incident radio waves with the added audio information. Sound waves vibrated a diaphragm which slightly altered the shape of the resonator, which modulated the reflected radio frequency. Even though this device was a covert listening device, rather than an identification tag, it is considered to be a predecessor of RFID because it was passive, being energized and activated by waves from an outside source.
Although actual usage of RFID technology in retail applications is still in its infancy, its potential for implementation throughout the industry is growing ever stronger. Currently, many retail operations are engaged in crafting implementation strategies for incorporating RFID into their businesses. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages they are discovering and the logical steps leading to full implementation they are most likely to employ.
Since RFID technology has come out, it has been a boon to many different industries, most notably in the warehouse and shipping business where it can be utilized to keep track of inventory and ensure speed and accuracy. However, while the technology is excellent for back of house systems, it turns out that it can be beneficial on the customer side of things as well. In fact, if you are smart about implementing a strategic RFID system then you can even increase your customer service experience and generate more loyalty. Here are several ways that that can be achieved.
As more retailers are shifting their inventory practices by switching to RFID, there has been one company that has been ahead of the curve. Macy’s is one of the biggest retailers in the world, and they have captured the attention of other retailers.
Since they switched to RFID readers, their inventory has become more efficient, allowing them to become a bigger and better run retail company. What is it that sets Macy’s apart from other retailers, especially when the science shows that RFID readers make inventory quicker, and shopping a more interactive experience for their customers?
The next wave in retail technology is just about ready to break. Thanks to the decreasing price in RFID technology, and the willingness of retailers to invest more in connected marketing materials, the Internet of Things is poised to take over retail as the next future-focused trend.
This is a follow up to our original post on Amazon Go
It seems like every day some new gadget or device comes out that promises to revolutionize the way we live our lives. Unfortunately, most of the time it’s a lot of hoopla for something that we don’t really need, but it’s cool to have, like wireless earphones and speakers.
But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t places where high technology can’t make vast improvements to the current way of doing things. Take, for example, the grocery store. Spending up to an hour or more searching for items to then wait in line to pay for such products seems horribly inefficient, even with things like self-checkout and express lanes. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way for us to get in and out without having to rely on the speed and efficiency of a checkout clerk?
Well, it turns out there is; RFID tags.