RFID Arena


RFID - Lost & Found

Finding items for your customer is difficult. No more need to worry. RFID is here to help. Item search is easy and quick with RFID and will boost your sales significantly. See the video for the Nordic ID Morphic UHF RFID Cross Dipole counting stock.

I worked in a fairly large department store during my studies, not long ago. The store is known for its high quality service, which sometimes meant long walks with the customer around the shop, presenting several alternatives and finding some more. I really enjoyed the interaction with the customers; I felt they appreciated my expertise and were really open to try out something new. After one satisfying purchase the same customers would often come back in search of another product. These active customers also knew to approach us, the staff, in order to find them their size from the article of their desire. They had learned that if their size was missing, it was possible for us to see whether some other stores had it for example.

The sales assistant and mission impossible

The retail store chain I worked for uses a mobile system based on barcodes to keep the product information updated. The system included a minimum amount of information of the products sold by the retail chain and it was used in tracking the products. It wasn't rare that the system would display one available item, yet the item was not present on its supposed location in the store, but in reality the item was not found in the department where it was supposed to be. As this happened, I counted to ten. At worst the same case repeated itself every day, many times per day. The stock inventory information in the system was updated once a day when the store was closed. Therefore, it was challenging to say whether the item was still in the store or if it was already sold during the day. From my point of view there were three alternatives: the item was already bought by another customer, it was taken to another part of the store or, it was stolen. And hence, I started my marathon; I would search through all the showcases, dolls, dressing rooms and stock rooms, as well as checked the reserved items. Simultaneously, I jumped and ran between several customers and tried to see whether some customer was carrying around the item I was looking for. Often this took some time since the store was rather large. And, of course, when being the only salesperson at the department (as usually in the last hours of the day), there were other customers in line waiting to be served, getting annoyed, looking at me with a frustrated face.

Sometimes the search resulted in me finding the missing item and the customer leaving pleased with the item purchased. On other occasions, however, the item was not found. In such case I became slightly frustrated about the existence and location of the item. Clearly the customer loyalty decreased and the customer would leave to visit the competitors' in order for them to satisfy his/her needs. It does not really help to hear the customer saying "thank you for an excellent customer service, you did your best" when the customer leaves with empty hands since I have no idea whether we had the item or not. However, I find some concellation in the fact that these customers would later come back to buy something else.

Nordic -ID-Merlin -in -fashion -store _web


As I've started to learn more and more about how technology can serve the sales people, I have to ask myself why it is seen in so few retail stores these days. All retailers want to serve their customers the best, I just see how RFID can help in that. With a system based on RFID my situation could have been completely different. First, the system would have shown real-time information about the products: if the item was sold two minutes ago, at the point of sale the item would be removed from the stock count. Secondly, if an item is taken to shop window or to be worn by a doll, the visual merchandisers could add this information in the system. Therefore, with a simple search function any salesperson could see the true expected location of the item from the system and the item could be taken to a customer in a minute.

And even with no specific stock locations in the system, one department could be easily checked with a mobile RFID reader to check if the item had only been misplaced. This takes less time than running from shop window to another and constantly asking colleagues. Just one button press allows the scanning of hundreds of items just to see whether there are any misplaced items among them. This would make the process of finding a lost item faster and also the other customers could be served faster. According to some European RFID pilots this feature can increase the sales of a store up to 10%.

I have also come to understand that RFID can really enhance such matters as excellent and fast customer service, which is something that customers share on blogs and forums and therefore these active blog readers are eager to come to experience the same themselves. Perhaps in future we as customers might have an opportunity to gain additional information about the products in dressing rooms or in specific lounge areas, provided by RFID. But, let's get back to that in a few years.

See a video of the amazing speedy inventory with the smallest UHF RFID mobile computer there is.

8 comments on “RFID - Lost & Found”

  1. Posted 23 January 2012 at 15:50:27

    I can confirm that the search item facility using a mobile reader allowed a 1'500 m2 fashion shop to save an average of 2 sales per days.

    The RFID reduce drastically the time that the customer need to wait articles.
    We have use NordicID portable but also Motorola or Psion.

  2. Posted 23 January 2012 at 16:00:02

    Hello Ruggiero!

    Thanks for your comment. Enduser comments and experiences are highly valued!


  3. Posted 27 January 2012 at 10:33:20

    Brilliant work Sini! This is a truly neat package about RFID benefits from a retailer and customer point of view. We tend to get lost in technical jargon with expressions and abreviations from a galaxy far far away. RFID on the shop floor isn't rocket science, it's satisfied customers.

  4. Posted 02 September 2016 at 16:36:33

    RFID is one of the best brand and now here Sale Manager shared the story of success which is good for small business to taking idea to make a strong strategy. I like to say great Thanks for this amazing effort for us.

  5. Posted 21 September 2016 at 05:32:06

    Real Explanation of RFID have this article. In other words this article make easy to understand the activity of RFID. I must say that this article help me a lot to increase my knowledge on that topic. So, Author have good research and information related to it.

  6. Gravatar of KirsikkaKirsikka
    Posted 27 September 2016 at 09:13:25


    thank you for your feedback! We are happy that you enjoyed this article.

    BR, Kirsikka

  7. Posted 29 December 2016 at 14:04:18

    It is very nice for providing the complete info regarding RFID. I want to congratulate you for this article with such a wonderful info. This is very useful for all the users to improve your business.

  8. Posted 01 July 2018 at 12:01:43

    thank you

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