5 Next-Gen RFID Solutions for Omnichannel Retailers

The Covid-19 pandemic ushered in a new era of curbside delivery, virtual try-ons, and even so-called “dark stores,” or local stores pivoting to become micro-fulfillment centers. In order to compete in this new world of omnichannel, click-to-bricks selling, physical retailers are looking to the past and implementing a technology that’s already been around for more than 20 years.

Radio-frequency identification, or RFID, has found new life in the post-pandemic retail space. By attaching small strips of metal that can transmit radio waves with information about any product, retailers are finding that they can accelerate and automate the store checkout process. Unlike barcodes, which must be scanned individually, RFID tags can be scanned together and they hold significantly more information. 

Companies offering next-generation RFID solutions are developing tags that are both lightweight and disposable — two key upgrades from the RFID tags of the past. Advancements in range and a lower price point are also at play. As more retailers shift to the clicks-and-bricks model, these modern RFID solutions could be just what’s needed to enable self-pay in cashierless environments. 

Here are five next-gen RFID solutions to watch.

1. Nordic ID

Nordic ID helps retailers optimize asset flow management and generates real-time inventory visibility using RFID tracking devices and custom cloud solutions. The Finish company manufactures RFID fixed readers, handheld readers, reader enhancements, antennas, and other modules for retailers. With RFID tags in place, stores can start selling to customers through self-checkouts and kiosks. Retailers can also work with Nordic ID to implement fully-automated unmanned storefronts that can be scaled across multiple locations. Nordic ID works with a number of retailers in the European fashion and lifestyle space, including Gerry Weber, Colmar, and Herman Kay.

2. Impinj

Impinj is working to drive digital transformation by extending the IoT and connecting retailers with technology partners that bring automation to intelligent systems. The company’s Connectivity Platform uses RAIN RFID technology to generate unique identifiers for individual items and read thousands of items instantly without direct line-of-sight. With Impinj-powered tags attached to in-store inventory, retailers can use automated checkout solutions built by Impinj partners to identify tagged items at checkout and support seamless product returns. Impinj says its solution is easier to use than other automated checkout systems, where customers fumble to find barcodes or manually enter SKU numbers into their mobile devices. Impinj clients include Carvana, Hy-Vee Grocery, and Love’s Travel Stops.

3. Nedap

Nedap’s iD Cloud Platform was developed to help retailers ensure they have the right products available at the right places and the right times. Coupling RFID tags with Nedap’s platform allows retailers to optimize inventory levels from source to store and minimize losses. Nedap says RFID scanning with embedded tags reduces average transaction times by almost half, by eliminating the need to scan multiple barcodes individually or remove hard tags at the point of sale. Nedap’s client roster includes some of the largest names in retail, including Sephora, Under Armour, and Foot Locker.

4. Detego

Detego’s cloud-hosted RFID software was developed for retailers. It includes real-time inventory management, analytics, and consumer engagement tools and serves as a “single point of truth”  when it comes to in-store inventory. Individual products are each given a unique ID, which leads to better stock accuracy, on-floor availability, and an increase in the omnichannel services stores can provide. That information is funneled into Detego’s multi-user mobile app, where retailers manage store operations with real-time, item-level inventory visibility and analytics. Detego’s platform is hardware agnostic. Brands using Detego’s RFID technology include All Birds and Adidas.

5. Keonn

Keonn’s RFID system is modular, with components for retail that are designed to enhance the customer shopping experience and track items at warehouses and other spaces. Keonn sells encoding stations for paper and hard RFID tags, as well as RFID readers, antennas, and barcode scanners. Coupling those products with the company’s cloud-based software, retailers can remotely manage Keonn products and offer faster checkouts and more dynamic fitting room processes. All interactions between detected tags and shoppers are recorded and stored in the cloud. Keonn’s software platform can also be used to connect Keonn products to third-party systems, including RFID middleware and other end-user customer applications. Brands using Keonn include Moleskin and Calconut.

​​Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

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