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 WILL BECOME THE HIDDEN HERO IN RETAIL
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
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.
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
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:
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
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, the CEO and founder of
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