NEW YORK— Connecting the store to online and following the customer throughout that journey is a big topic at NRF's BIG Show this week. It's a puzzle plaguing retailers, and the solution being presented is RFID.
From conference sessions highlighting retail environments such as the new Rebecca Minkoff stores to exhibitors demonstrating how the solution can work, RFID has emerged as the tool to create connect the retail channels in the omnichannel world.
RFID growth is huge, according to the folks at Cellotape, which prints product tags embedded with RRID or NFC capabilities. Of the two, demand for RFID is greater.
NFC is the better consumer engagement tool, but RFID is connecting devices in store with inventory, making the connected store more of a reality.
There's even a new group, the Acuitas Digital Alliance, "determined to bring the full benefits of the new digital era across the entire supply chain, all the way to the physical locations where customers do business."
The Acuitas Digital Alliance is group of companies with the mission of "providing a secure, cloud-based and future-proof solution for businesses that want to take real-time advantage of big data and the Internet of Things to optimize operations throughout their entire supply chain while better engaging with end customers," according to a statement.
Founding members include Intel, RetailNext, NexGen Packaging and BT. BT's In-Store Visibility was the first solution developed by the alliance, and their model store on display on the Expo floor displayed how hardware, software and analytics are being combined to create a smarter store.
The group looks to solve four problems for retailers, according to Tom Wolf, VP Global Retail and Consumer Goods, BT. First is the hardware which integrates the functionality of beacons, sensors and RFID into a single piece.
Second is the software, which uses an app to provide information on product availability at shelf, communicate with fitting rooms, and track both merchandise and the customer.
Analytics are intended to assist both the retailer on the back end and the store associate, pushing information about the shopper in the store and the items being interacted with.
And finally, the price, which is determined by the number of features used and then paid in monthly installments.
RFID is helping to fuel growth strategies by retailers large and small. Target recently used RFID tags in a holiday display and began rolling out RFID price tags in stores earlier this year.
*SATO Global Solutions is also an inaugural member of the Acuitas Digital Alliance along with Intel, RetailNext, NexGen Packaging and BT.
-See this announcement from the Acuitas Digital Alliance
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