The benefits of RFID have been widely discussed in the retail sector and the advantages are indisputable. RFID will boost sales. And that is all well for the retailer. But, what’s in it for the customers? What does it offer for the customer?
Whether you yourself are a retailer or not - at the end of the
day, we are all customers somewhere. We are all, or at least most
of us, just trying to make ends meet. We want to save money on
bargains and try to only buy things that we really need. And for
this reason, we want to make sure that the things we buy are the
best available and our "first choice".
To some consumers, the thought of RFID, might make them feel
that retailers are using RFID to "trick" them into buying more and
more and more. "More sales" for the retailer equals "less money in
the customer's wallet". And that isn't a nice thought. RFID becomes
just another way to lure more money out of customer's pockets the
same way that advertisements and commercials do: "I have to fight
against the manipulation". But, let's put on a different set
of glasses and take a new look at RFID. What's in it for the
Yes, it is true that retailers boost their sales with RFID.
However, this does not mean that the customers necessarily end up
spending more money. Let's imagine a customer, "Mildred", who is
searching for a specific type of garment. Mildred has found it in a
store, but her size is missing and the sales assistant is not sure
whether they have it. What will Mildred do? Will she buy the same
garment in a smaller size (hope not!) or in a larger size? Will she
take another color that isn't the one she prefers? Will she
continue searching and end up buying the "next best thing"?
Or perhaps she will leave the store disappointed like 70% of
the consumers do in this case? The worst case scenario for a
retailer is that she leaves the store disappointed and empty-handed
and decides to take her business elsewhere. The retailer loses
money and reputation. Mildred loses time and her nerves.
With our new glasses on, more sales with RFID means that the
customer finds what (s)he wants quickly and smoothly without having
to make any compromises INSTEAD of taking her/his business
elsewhere. It means that the customer gets service from
well-informed sales people that actually have time to assist. This
way the customer saves a lot of time, and as we all know "time is
On the contrary to what one might think, out-of-stocks per se
are not the black-and-white number one reason for customers to
leave the store empty-handed. The missing item might just as well
be misplaced and lying around in the backroom or on the shop floor.
It is available, but nobody is aware of it.
In the case with Mildred, an RFID system would have made sure
that the sales assistant knows whether Mildred's size was available
or not. She would have known where it is and brought it to Mildred
in seconds. And if we take this one step further, the POS system
would have notified the manufacturer or the DC that this item is
about to run out and the store would have received replenishments
before the last piece gets sold.
RFID makes the shopping experience much more pleasant by saving
everybody's time, money and nerves. But this still doesn't solve
the dilemma: "Do I really NEED this garment or do I just want to
buy it because I like it…" Both actually go! The one that doesn't
fly is "Am I buying this garment as a substitute for the one I
really wanted but just couldn't find?"
In conclusion, we can all look forward to quicker and better
service through the spread of RFID.
To see the customer care you always wished for, see the video Designed, Delivered, SOLD.