Retailers given guidelines to measure benefits of RFID

Retailers now have an opportunity to consistently define, test and verify the performance level of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags thanks to the creation of some new guidelines by supply chain standards group GS1 US.

Announced at the start of 2015 and developed by retailers, suppliers and technology solution providers, the Tagged Item Performance Protocol (TIPP) offers a standardised system to benchmark the performance of RFID-tagged items in multiple environments.

GS1 US says that TIPP comprises three components that provide an industry-scalable solution for defining tagged-item performance: tagged-item grade definitions, testing procedures and a product catalogue that defines the RFID tag orientation and layout of common retail items.

Melanie Nuce, vice president of apparel and general merchandise at GS1 US, remarked: "Historically, retailers have conducted their own RFID performance testing and set their own individual expectations for tag inlay solutions that may be used to tag products destined for their stores.

"This required suppliers to provide different solutions for different retailers. TIPP now allows retailers to set performance levels for a specific use case, and it also allows suppliers flexibility in how they meet grade levels from multiple retailers."

A growing number of retailers are looking at RFID and how it can help boost their businesses. GS1 says that implementing an RFID programme with enhanced tagged-item performance can allow retailers to benefit from greater inventory accuracy, improved point of sale, decreased out-of-stocks, improved loss detection, enhanced stock conversion reporting, increased full price sales, and expedited returns.

At this year's European retail tech solutions show RBTE, which takes place between 10-11 March at London's Olympia, visitors will have an opportunity to visit a dedicated RFID Zone showcasing nine companies that are bringing the technology to the retail sector.

It is the second year in succession that RFID will be featured in such a way at the European show, and on this occasion visiting retailers will be able to catch up with representatives from BT Global Services, Enso Detego, Impinj, Nordic+, OCS, r-pac, Smartrac, TRC Solutions, Xterprise.

Mark Tailford, managing director of Nordic+, told Essential Retail that RFID in retail has multiple benefits, and acknowledged that more businesses operating in the sector have identified the need to bring this technology into their organisations.

"The RFID pioneers we have worked with such as Marks & Spencer, American Apparel, Tesco, John Lewis and Gerry Webber have proven the return on investment, [with] 95% stock-accuracy and the on-going uplift in sales through better availability, is a compelling case for change," he explained.

"Personally, as a focused shopper I want to be able to find the product I'm searching for quickly in order that I can then jump in my car to watch my beloved Leeds United thrash whoever they are up against that weekend! Also, now retailers can finally have the confidence to supply online orders from local stores rather than costly shipping from distribution centres."

Commenting on what visiting retailers can expect from the RFID Zone at this year's RBTE, Tailford added: "Dialogue with more inspirational retail leaders and [a focus on] challenges that haven't been met yet."

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