NRF’s Big Show, RFID and Omni-Channel Retailing

January 30, 2013 Larry Arnstein

NRF, RFID and Omni-Channel Retailing
Source: National Retail Federation

Thousands of people descend on New York every January for the National Retail Federation’s “Big Show”. Each of us brings a unique perspective—mine being that of Impinj, the leading RFID technology provider for item level RFID in retail. I was glad to see several of our customers including Avery Dennison RBIS, Checkpoint, Motorola, Pittsfield ID, r-pac, Smartrac, Tagsys, and Tyco demonstrating how their solutions help retailers improve the shopping experience in ways both prosaic (yes, the item is actually in stock) and profound (deep integration of the physical and digital experience).

There were two great RFID applications showcased at NRF this year that deserve a special shout out. One to TradeCard for demonstrating an RFID-based scan-pack solution for the apparel supply chain. TradeCard is clearly responding to the rapidly expanding demand for RFID source tagging as retail brand owners seek their own ROI from the RFID tagging that they are already doing for retailers. The other to SimplyRFID for demonstrating, in the Axis Communications booth, how RFID read events can augment a retail security system by indexing surveillance video.

This year, several software providers were touting their omni-channel solutions. I think it’s worth noting that one can have great software, but if the underlying inventory data is corrupt, then omni-channel fulfillment will fail. Garbage in, garbage out! RFID seems to be the only realistic way to safely rely on store inventory to meet omni-channel shopper expectations. Try the Impinj Store Performance Simulator to see the surprising ways that better inventory data can improve profitability, associate utilization, and customer experience.

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