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RFID - What’s in it for the customer?

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 customer?

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 money".

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.

Customer service

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.

3 comments on “RFID - What’s in it for the customer?”

  1. Posted 24 August 2012 at 13:15:16

    And, check out the awesome fast check out in the end of the film. Maybe this could be the answer to shorten the lines at check counters in shops! Oh, wouldn't that be wonderful! :)

  2. Posted 11 April 2014 at 14:02:18

    RFID is wonderful, I agree with mirva , you no longer need to stand in a queue for billing as time is money.

    But you can utilize this time on your work, or with your love ones.

  3. Gravatar of Kirsikka DrägerKirsikka Dräger
    Posted 15 April 2014 at 09:16:29

    Thank you Mrinal for your comment!

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