The likes of Macy's, Saks and Walmart – including Asda in the UK – have recently made the step to introduce RFID technology in their stores, and competing businesses have been urged to follow suit for their own benefit.

Ann Grackin, CEO of ChainLink Research, said that the companies which have followed the RFID route are "realising a sizeable operational, financial, and customer satisfaction advantage over competing retailers who are not using RFID".

Her comments followed a ChainLink survey of 120 global retailers, sponsored by Tyco Retail Solutions, which suggested that inventory accuracy was the top reason for retailers looking to introduce RFID into their businesses.

The next most popular motivations for implementing the technology were for reducing out of stocks and increasing on-floor availability, but there are a plethora of other reasons for exploring the opportunities that RFID brings to business.

During RBTE 2014, which takes place at London's Earls Court between 11-12 March, visitors will have the opportunity to visit the In-store RFID Customer Experience Zone, which aims to provide retailers with an understanding of just what benefits RFID technology can bring to their respective companies.

Representatives from the zone's main sponsors ADT Tyco, Smartrac and Nordic+ (formerly Nordic ID UK) will be on hand to demonstrate RFID's multiple functions and advantages across all aspects of retail.

Adam Sharp, sales manager for Western Europe at Smartrac, answers some questions below on the role his company plays in the RFID process and why he sees the technology being central to the retail industry in the months ahead.

Why is RFID important for retailers?

Already today but continuously increasing important in the future, RFID will play a crucial role for retailers as it will drive and enable the next generation of merchandise visibility and consequently enhance the consumer experience. And it's definitely one of the hot topics in retail today.

What role does Smartrac play in the RFID journey?

Smartrac is the leading developer, manufacturer and supplier of RFID transponders, tags and inlays and we are dedicated to deliver high-quality, smart and secured solutions to our customers globally. Our vision and mission, not only in retail is to showcase how RFID will enable a 'New era of merchandise visibility and consumer experience'. We would like to emphasise the benefits of RFID and NFC technologies – from the ultimate supply chain and inventory management to real time merchandise interaction – all the way to applications for consumer experience and customer retention.

Which retailers are currently using RFID particularly well?

Fashion retailers, department stores and FMCG companies are today leading the RFID adoption.

What are your predictions for RFID in retail in the year ahead?

We estimate that the RFID adoption on item level for apparel merchandise will grow with a compound annual growth rate of more than 20% over the next few years.

What can retailers expect to gain from the In Store Customer RFID Experience at RBTE 2014?

Explore the future of RFID as a new era of merchandise visibility and consumer experience.

This is the third article in a five-part series on RFID. Over the coming weeks, Essential Retail will profile the use of RFID at the different stages of the retail supply chain, where we will hear from the key sponsors of the RBTE In-store RFID Customer Experience Zone, Tyco Retail Solutions, Smartrac and Nordic+.

http://www.smartrac-group.com/en/index.php