RFID in retail

A person sticking an RFID tag on a box

The barcode is the most used solution to identify products in the retail sector, but RFID is making a hole in this world. Large companies such as Decathlon, Inditex, El Corte Inglés or Mango are in the process of adding, or have already done so, this system to their merchandise circuit.

RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) is a technology that uses chips in order to track or identify objects at a distance. It may not seem like the most suitable option for your company, but its advantages can make you change your mind.

Stock control with RFID

RFID tags allow you to maintain better stock control. Each of them keeps unique information that differentiates all the articles from each other, even if they are the same model. It is as if each product had a personal ID. The implementation of this technology helps, thus, to have total control of the inventory, which also improves productivity. Workers can know at any time where exactly the product is located.

Another advantage offered by RFID for retail is that it allows customers to opt for self-payment. The boxes can read the labels automatically just by placing the items and even without taking them out of the basket without requiring the assistance of cashier personnel.

RFID tag

Requirements for using RFID

The implementation of RFID technology implies the fulfillment of some basic requirements. Passive tags, which require a power source, are fed by radio frequency waves emitted by RFID antennas to transmit the information they store. Therefore, both the warehouse and the store require a network of antennas so that readers can interact with the labels, to read and transmit the data. Configuring this network requires a prior analysis of the warehouse or local to determine the optimal location and its subsequent installation and configuration. The entire process may take a few months to complete.

Most used devices

In addition to RFID tags and tags, your business will need other devices:

  • RFID printers: to be able to print the RFID tags that will be put on the products or parts. They're like conventional label printers, only they feature a built-in RFID encoder. That is, they print what is necessary on the paper (visual), but also record information on the chip integrated in the label (data).
  • RFID terminals: scanners, PDAs, tablets, and other tools that can read, scan or record RFID tags.
  • RFID antennas: they are the necessary intermediary so that RFID readers can transmit the radio frequency signal and receive the information back through the tags.

Advantages of RFID

One of the virtues of RFID tags is that the chip can be re-recorded and read as many times as necessary. The labels are quite resistant, since they can be read even if they suffer blows and chafing. In addition, they do not need direct or visual contact to be read. RFID is much more secure than the barcode, as the code it saves is unique and it is very difficult to duplicate a tag. Another difference from barcodes is that they store a lot of data.

If you still have questions about RFID, contact the Logiscenter technical team and they will help you with everything you need.