Retailer Target to Use RFID Technology to Improve Inventory Accuracy

The nervous back and forth glance between a nearly illegible shopping list (note to self: pick up a pen more often) and empty supermarket shelves is something many of us know too well. The first reaction to not finding an item is always one of denial – the “surely it has to be here somewhere” phase. In hopes of maybe finding it elsewhere, awkward up & down and side to side motions that slightly resemble square dancing follow. Eyes quickly scan multiple aisles from top to bottom, and then the inevitable reality of it all sets in: “Of course they’re out of exactly what I need. Now I get to go to yet another supermarket. Great.”

Using RFID Technology to Improve the Retail Industry

Making Traditional Offer & Demand More Transparent

Target is hoping to put an end to many consumers’ seemingly endless trips to multiple grocery stores to acquire all of the items on their shopping lists. As stated in the press release published by Target’s Executive Vice President, plans are under way to equip retail goods in Target stores with RFID technology to improve overall stock transparency, modernize inventory tracking methods, and most importantly keep customers from resorting to the competition.

In the highly competitive retail industry, constantly having the items consumers want and need on stock is key to providing a smooth customer experience. Inventory inadequacy not only results in the immediate loss of potential profit, but also forces consumers to consider other retail options if it happens frequently enough. You would think that retailers would be doing everything possible to avoid this from happening, especially since the entire problem is preventable with the help of new technologies. So why does it continue to happen as often as it does? Apparently Target asked themselves the same question, leading to their newest, market-savvy decision to implement RFID technology into their stores to continuously monitor stock levels.

RFID Technology To “…Provide People with Seamless, Stress-Free Shopping Experiences.”

RFID technology will help Target “elevate its guest experience,” and ensure that customers are going home happy and with a full trunk of grocery bags. The tags, which essentially consist of a chip and a transmitter, helping them achieve their goal are integrated into the packaging of products and goods, given a product code, and scanned by hand-held devices to determine the current amount on stock.

This enables Target to anticipate when they’ll need to order more of a certain product, simplifying the guarantee of product availability. Target is also saying their online order section will benefit from this technology, “which already accounts for 15 percent of Target purchases.”

Target is Kickstarting “…One of the Largest RFID Projects in Retail.”

The program will focus on Target’s key sales categories, such as apparel and home décor.

According to the press release, Target is also interested in expanding the project to explore further uses of RFID technology to improve customer experience and overall stock transparency.

This large overhaul will also create a more seamless transition between online & in-store experience. By implementing stock tracking systems, customers looking for new apparel or furniture online also have the possibility of checking to see if it’s available in Target stores close to them.

This new technology is increasingly being used in diverse markets to improve many different aspects of business. By ensuring that guests will really get what they came into the store for from now on, Target is taking a large step towards becoming an even more customer-oriented retailer which actively listens to the voice of the customer.

In the past few years, major vendors such as Alien Technology, Avery Dennison, Invengo, Smartrac Tech, Honeywell, Impinj and NXP Semiconductors have increased their investment in the R&D of RFID technology, proving the technology’s large potential. Learn more about the basics of RFID technology, how they are used in various markets, and how we can help deploy this solution for your organization here.


Connect with the author, Robyn Mize.

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