The Endpoint is the Starting Point of Digital Transformation in Retail

December 7, 2016 Larry Arnstein

Experts estimate that retailers will apply RAIN RFID tags to over 5 billion items in 2017.1 Each of these RAIN RFID tag chips when attached to an item form what we call an endpoint, which uniquely identifies an item’s identity, location and authenticity – intelligence that can be wirelessly communicated to the retailer’s business applications. 

Talk about digital transformation. That’s pretty remarkable – taking an otherwise physical and non-powered item and giving it a digital identity that can contribute to the retailer’s business. This is the real Internet of Things.

There are many ways that a connected item, or endpoint, contributes to the business. By knowing the whereabouts (or absence) of an item, the retailer gains confidence in the accuracy of their inventory, so they can make the right amount of inventory and distribute it optimally across their warehouses, fulfillment centers and stores.

Our endpoints, gateways, and software compose the Impinj platform that brings accurate, real-time data to enterprise business systems. For example, when the Impinj platform connects items to a retail ERP system like SAP or Oracle, all business processes that depend on inventory data work better, including in-store replenishment, omnichannel operations, and store allocation. Imagine having less inventory AND better availability. Smart, connected items make that possible!

With always-on awareness of any item’s location, it can be offered for sale at any time. And when items are connected to an e-commerce platform, like SAP Hybris, the web store offers more merchandise without overpromising. Also, orders can be routed reliably to stores for quick fulfillment.

By connecting endpoints to in-store digital experiences such as those from inMotion or Oak Labs, connected items sell themselves by serving up relevant product information, brand immersion and interaction opportunities. When a guest picks up a connected item and carries it around, it can pair with shopper traffic patterns in an analytics application, helping to complete the story of the shopper’s journey. A retailer not only knows where shoppers are spending their time, but what items are attracting their interest.

Once an item is connected to a RAIN RFID platform it becomes more than just an item. It becomes an endpoint that makes the business both smarter and faster.

At Impinj, we see a future retail environment that is filled with experiences and information brought to customers through connected items. Retailers on the path towards digital transformation understand that RAIN RFID is a key technology that connects items to applications, enabling IoT for their business. An endpoint can be a starting point to efficient and aware business processes and automated customer engagement.  

Interested in visiting the Impinj Retail Experience Center to see the technology in action? We’d love to give you a tour. Get in touch.

Citations:
 1 Auburn University RFID Lab and GS1 US, “How to Get the Most out of RFID”

About the Author

Larry Arnstein

Larry brings experience in all phases of the technology adoption lifecycle to his role as VP of Business Development. Since joining Impinj, Larry has collaborated with retail and brand leaders as they adopt and benefit from Item Intelligence, and has contributed to the RFID industry through public speaking, writing, and community leadership roles. Prior to joining Impinj, Larry was the founder and CTO of a software company and served on the faculty of the University of Washington’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering. Around Impinj, and perhaps making him ideal for working with retailers, Larry is considered quite fashionable (the bar is not set too high). Outside of work, Larry enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee and spending time with his wife and kids.

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