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How RFID Benefits the Apparel and Footwear Industry?

  • Abhishek Shukla
  • Oct 23, 2023
  • RFID
How RFID Benefits the Apparel and Footwear Industry?

As it happens apparel and footwear retail companies are often faced with multifaceted challenges related to production, supply chain, and inventory. Managing stores is whole another set of challenges, keeping in mind the need of the consumers and their shopping experience. Customer expectations have also changed quite a bit post COVID-19 pandemic. People don’t want to wait in long queues and don’t like looking for a certain item throughout the store for long. Sure, staff members can help, but looking for a particular item is not easy for them either. 

The traditional bar-coding technology is not able to keep up with the complex challenges apparel and footwear businesses face. The human errors, inaccurate inventory data, lack of tracking means, lack of enough data to locate and correctly identify a particular item, supply chain invisibility, etc., barcoding is just not helpful anymore and that is why Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is getting popular in retail. In fact, retail giants like Walmart, P&G, Gillette, etc. are the companies that backed the RFID development in retail long back in the early 2000s.  

What is RFID exactly?

RFID is an advanced technology that is being used to automatically identify and track objects/individuals and even animals. RFID uses two most important components namely RFID tags and RFID readers. 

RFID technology is based on wireless communication between the RFID reader and RFID tag(s) using radio frequency signals. RFID tags are small electronic devices that have a small antenna and a silicon microchip that can be encoded with relevant data. 

The cost of RFID implementation has come down significantly with RFID tag prices coming down to 4-5 US cents (roughly 5-6 Indian Rupees) from 40-50 US cents, earlier. 

The footwear and apparel industry looks to gain significant operational leeway in light of retail RFID adoption that is gaining momentum lately. Various retail businesses such as Walmart, Target, H&M, Zara, etc. have already started to implement RFID technology in their retail stores and warehouses with significant results. In September 2022, Walmart issued a mandate to its suppliers in home and furniture, toys, electronics, etc. to use RFID tags on packages to ensure robust supply chains and end-to-end supply chain visibility. 

How does RFID benefit the Apparel and Footwear Industry?

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology offers several benefits to the apparel and footwear industry. Some of the key advantages are as follows:

Improved Inventory Management

RFID enables accurate and real-time tracking of inventory throughout the supply chain, from manufacturing to distribution to retail stores. UHF RFID labels can be attached to footwear and clothing items and even the supply boxes containing these items. These RFID labels can be encoded with relevant identification data which provide enough information on apparel and footwear items for improved inventory control. RFID thus improves inventory accuracy and visibility, reducing stockouts and overstock situations.

Enhanced Supply Chain Efficiency

RFID enables faster and more efficient processes in the supply chain. It automates tasks such as receiving, counting, and sorting items, reducing manual labor and human errors. In the apparel and footwear industry, RFID thus, leads to improved operational efficiency and cost savings.

Increased Product Availability

With RFID, retailers can quickly locate and restock items, ensuring that popular products are always available to customers. RFID labeling apparel and footwear and keeping them right in front improves customer satisfaction in terms of shopping experience and sales.

Streamlined Checkout Process with RFID

RFID technology allows for faster and more seamless checkout experiences in fashion retail. Instead of manually scanning each item, RFID readers can quickly identify multiple items simultaneously; say in shopping bags and carts, reducing waiting times for customers. Some RFID handheld readers offer high read rates going up to 1800 tags per sec, allowing store owners to seamlessly manage customers with quick checkouts. 

RFID helps with Loss Prevention 

Retail shrinkage is a big issue. A Forbes article recently highlighted that shoplifting in retail stores has become a 100 billion USD problem. RFID tags can be used for anti-theft purposes and integrating RFID technology with security systems allows retailers to detect and prevent theft, reducing shrinkage and improving profitability. 

Improved Customer Experience with RFID in Apparel and Footwear

RFID labels on apparel and shoes enable retail store owners to provide a more personalized and convenient shopping experience to consumers. RFID allows accurate and real-time inventory information and therefore retailers can offer services like click-and-collect, in-store navigation, and personalized recommendations, resulting in better customer experience. 

Sustainability Benefits of RFID

RFID technology can contribute to sustainability efforts in the apparel industry. RFID labels on footwear and apparel can help reduce waste by optimizing inventory management, minimizing overproduction, and improving supply chain efficiency.

To summarize, RFID technology is quite efficient and offers tons of benefits in the footwear and apparel industry. It allows companies to optimize their operations, improve customer satisfaction, and drive overall business success. UHF RFID labels can be encoded with relevant identification and UHF RFID readers, fixed and handheld, can be used to accurately maintain inventory control, offer quick checkout at POS, and ensure better profitability. 

Disclaimer: The information presented here is for general information purposes only and true to best of our understanding. Users are requested to use any information as per their own understanding and knowledge. Before using any of the information, please refer to our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

  • Created on Oct 23, 2023
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