Is The ‘RFID Retail Revolution’ Finally Here?

by MR Magazine Staff

I remember back in 2000, my headline was something like, “Get Ready For The RFID Retail Revolution,” or, “Wal-Mart Kicks Off The RFID Revolution.” Turns out the revolution never materialized. But it might this time around; at least that’s what retailers are hoping. After nearly 20 years of aborted takeoffs—including a much-watched failed push by Wal-Mart —radio frequency identification technology finally seems poised for widespread retail adoption, if the renewed industry buzz on the inventory-tracking tech is any indication. RFID automates the tracking of merchandise throughout the retail supply chain — from the warehouse to the store floor — replacing the process of employees scanning products manually. And retailers are betting on RFID to take inventory-management accuracy, crucial to a solvent retail operation, to new heights. Inventory management is that unsexy-yet-critical retail discipline that has gained infinitely more importance since my RFID story went to print 17 years ago. Today, $427 billion in e-commerce sales are now flowing through the supplier-to-store/direct-to-consumer pipelines, exponentially complicating retail supply chains. As the cost of RFID has fallen dramatically — a RFID tag was priced at about $1 in 2003, and is roughly 10 cents today —retailers are starting to upgrade to the technology to access an item-level view of their in-store and online inventory. Read more at Forbes.