5 Myths About RFID in Retail

By Rob Simmons, CEO, Freedom Shopping

RFID is coming off the whiteboard and into the warehouse, store and consumer environment. As a technology, it provides precisely the type of payout decision makers expect in this tight economy; more output for the same dollar.

The obstacles to improved profits using RFID are primarily psychological, due to a stigma and false assumptions that have surrounded the technology for years. It’s time to let go of these myths and misperceptions and improve your company’s operations and profits NOW.

Myth # 1  – The extra costs don’t justify the benefits over barcode
Possibly, maybe if only one department or function is looking to use the technology. But when the tags and tracking are used ACROSS functions, the payoffs become dramatic. More importantly, RFID can provide breakthroughs and income possibilities that not exist before. Rather than looking for specific line item benefits, expect to see convergent solutions, where one tag application yields a number benefits throughout the product cycle, some financial, some experiential. Another thing that’s commonly misunderstood is that the ROI has less to do with the unit cost of the item than it does with the management cost you are expending per item.


Myth # 2  – The technology is still developing
In past years, the RFID industry has successfully standardized the hardware, greatly  increasing interoperability, performance and reliability. Both tags and readers have become highly dependable, even in the most punishing environments. For several years now, it’s a given that the technology works on all materials dependably and at all levels of packaging, and at high speeds of processing.

Myth # 3  – It requires a large investment
Only if you like to pay a lot for fluff and overhead. Companies now have a choice of proven, disciplined ISV’s who offer field-proven systems that operate as a “black box” inside existing solutions. No longer must they choose between being hostage to an outside software firm or suffer the travails of the “do it yourself” pioneer. These newer, simple solutions from the RFID community are quick to install and modest in price and support costs.

Myth #4   – It requires a complex system to manage
Early RFID systems were parallel and redundant to the existing management system, and reconciling the data could be complex and difficult to manage. With newer systems being cleaner and embedded in the existing solution, there is far less to go wrong. When RFID is implemented properly, there is less to manage at the end of the day, not more.

Myth # 5  – RFID is only for large enterprises
Initially RFID was limited to government and Fortune 100 company initiatives. By like many other cases, the real power can lie in entrepreneurial use and adaptation of new a new technology. RFID can bring in cutting edge practices to the most modest of businesses, and help to leverage the resources of an ambitious business person who has limited time.

Take advantage of this technology!  RFID is not a process; it is an enhancement to a process. RFID specialists are seeing themselves increasingly as supporting functions, rather than designing them. As that hierarchy is realized, RFID can finally take its place as an ubiquitous technology. Where does it fit in your endeavor?


Rob Simmons is CEO of Freedom Shopping, Inc, a provider RFID inventory solutions. Since 2005, when the first 100% RFID item-level stores opened using Freedom Shopping’s technology, the company has been a recognized leader in RFID based Point-of-Sale (POS), security and self-service solutions.

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