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RFID heading into the clouds – the stores of the future

What could the stores of the future look like? In this blog post I want to share a vision with you about where RFID development is heading and how this will transform the stores of the future.

Everyone enjoys imagining what the future will hold. As a pioneer in the field of RFID this is especially important to me. The excitement about RFID technology is formed by its endless possibilities and with a little imagination there is a clear vision on how it will be transforming stores of the future. This article will outline the vision of where RFID development is heading and how this will transform the stores of the future.


RFID-heading -into -the -clouds

RFID WILL BECOME THE HIDDEN HERO IN RETAIL ENVIRONMENTS

The importance of leading with knowledge will be huge in the future. RFID technology can provide outstandingly accurate and precise data that retailers can use for many purposes. The technology can for example help to identify conversion rates, provide insights into what clothes are often tried on in the fitting room, but not purchased. Also, the data can be used to plan product display locations, campaigns and much more. The more information retailers have available, the more they can use it to their advantage.

RFID will become an essential part in store operations and this will lead to RFID enabled stores where the technology is integrated in all places. Strategically placed overhead RFID readers and RFID mats in addition to smart shelves, smart fitting rooms, smart mirrors and RFID enabled point-of-sale capabilities will allow retailers to integrate RFID at full-scale throughout the entire retail space. RFID will become the hidden hero that is integrated into the display rooms. At the point-of-sale RFID will ensure easier and faster registration of products. Customers will value the perks of minimising the time spent at cashier lines. RFID enabled stores will transform more into display rooms and thus, retail will be able to shift their focus from counting and searching items to their core task: creating a pleasant and convenient shopping experience for the customer.

These new trends will have a big impact on how RFID equipment and solutions will evolve and develop.

RFID-integration -over -time ---table _Jormas -vision _RGB

DISPLAY ROOMS

The stores of the future will be more and more like display rooms, where the shop floor is a representation of the retailer's product offering. Customers can choose items, receive information on matching items and make the purchase decision in the store. Nevertheless, this does not mean that the customers have to leave the store with plastic bags packed with purchased products. The display stores will provide all customer support and service - after that the purchased goods will be delivered directly to the customer's doorstep.

This transforms retail stores into true multichannel businesses and makes the role of keeping stock at the store unnecessary. Sales personnel will concentrate on customer service and selling. Goods will be stored and delivered from a warehouse that serves both online as well as in-store orders.

The display rooms will offer the customers a wholesome shopping experience with attention to details, such as smell and music. RFID enables retailers to identify customers with customer loyalty cards and therefore makes it possible to tailor a shopping experience to the likes of shoppers. Registered VIP status customers could be greeted with preferred music and scents. Also customers can engage in social media sharing and can have the option to compile wish lists and share those with their friends and family.

Creating a pleasant experience will not end with the ambience of the store. The entire store will cater to the customer's needs and wants. Augmented reality implemented with the help of smart technologies will ensure convenience at the highest level whilst making sure that the retailer can concentrate on their core task: selling.

EQUIPMENT FOR THE FUTURE

The future trend towards RFID enabled stores will needless to say lead to technical improvements in the equipment. Equipment, such as furniture/fixture and modules with integrated RFID technology will evolve and be installed so they can be used and moved on the shop floor easier and with more flexibility.

Fixed RFID readers will need to be mounted so that they provide information accurately without disrupting the aesthetic look of a retail space. They will be placed discretely by the ceiling, under stacked garments or they could be integrated in the rack or garment hangers allowing maximum flexibility of the store layout without sacrificing reading performance. The different types of RFID readers will constantly communicate with the backend system to ensure that precise real-time information of the content of the store is available at all times.

INFORMATION WILL MOVE INTO THE CLOUDS

More and more information is already stored in cloud servers, from private persons' pictures to email. This is a development that will likely also happen with store related information retrieved with RFID technology. This would mean that inventory lists and replenishment lists could be available conveniently from cloud servers.

What would be more convenient than having a whole display room solution fitted and implemented into your company's operations without having to worry about IT integration and such? As a retailer you would have inventory and replenishment lists available for your use, real-time and without hassle.

And what is best, in the future retail stores might obtain RFID as a whole data management package, instead of as an RFID solution. RFID will shift from a technology investment to a full solutions service as well as RFID readers. Much as in the case of mobile phones: nowadays the device itself is not necessarily purchased separately but as part of a service contract with the network operator. All this would be possible when RFID transforms from a mere technology investment into an agile service.

Jorma -Lalla -Nordic -ID

Jorma Lalla, the CEO and founder of Nordic ID

RECOMMENDED READING

5 most common applications on the shop floor

"Smart shelves" - the store shelf of the future 

The "smart fitting room" concept

Out-of-stocks an XL problem for apparel retailers

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