Omnichannel retailing can solve this problem. Intended to give customers a seamless shopping experience, whether in a brick-and-mortar location or online, a key piece of the omnichannel puzzle is having real-time visibility into one’s inventory across all stores, warehouses and fulfillment centers to keep inventory in stock and accessible.
The benefits of RFID in retail
RFID helps as it can give retailers additional supply chain visibility—from the manufacturer to distribution centers—and accurate, real-time inventory across all stores or channels.
While the technology has been around for decades, the cost of tags and effectiveness of traditional barcode labels have kept RFID from reaching its full potential. However, RFID adoption has been on the rise, particularly when it comes to item-level tagging.
In fact, IDTechEx Research says that within retail, “RFID continues to be adopted for apparel tagging above all other applications by volume—that application alone will demand 8.7 billion RFID labels in 2017.
Most RFID implementations to date have been at the pallet level, which might give a manufacturer or retailer insight into the whereabouts of pallets, but no intelligence on what’s in the pallet. Item-level tagging can take place anywhere, but large retailers have pushed to have tags placed at the manufacturer level, sewn into the garments themselves or placed on the packaging. While there is an added expense, it’s been said that RFID can increase shipping and picking accuracy by 80%.
With item-level tagging, retailers gain precise intelligence on inventory levels and the location of items. This makes it easier for retailers to reorder, plan for demand, and communicate effectively with suppliers.
RFID spend is on the rise
With benefits to both the manufacturers and retailers, it’s no wonder the industry is so bullish on RFID and believe that omnichannel can’t be achieved without the inclusion of RFID technologies. IDTechEx finds that in 2017, “the total RFID market will be worth $11.2 billion, up from $10.52 billion in 2016 and $9.95 billion in 2015. IDTechEx forecast that to rise to $14.9 billion in 2022.”
Retail-focused solution providers are perfectly placed to capitalize on this opportunity. As more retailers come to accept that they must implement an omnichannel strategy to remain competitive, the need for RFID technology and other supply chain optimization solutions will increase.
The challenge for many solution providers is sorting out the complexity of an omnichannel solution. Integrating disparate systems, getting data to flow and then adding in RFID data can be daunting. Don’t let that prevent you from getting involved. Contact your Ingram Micro rep for help in getting started. Our goal is to help you succeed, so you can ensure your customers succeed. Together, we can bring RFID and omnichannel retailing together.