Is Item-Level Tagging the New Normal for Retail?

According to Aberdeen Research, retailers are currently expected to purchase a total of 300 million RFID labels this year. This can be attributed to a market shift from more compliance-base tracking to item-level tagging, as well as more affordable tag and reader costs. One of the greatest benefits of item-level tagging for the retail industry is perpetual inventory management. With the increased visibility into inventory afforded by the RFID tags, retailers have greater efficiency and accuracy in order processing based on an increased knowledge of what is in stock. Additional benefits retailers experience from item-level tagging are the ability to keep a fully stocked floor, increased time and labor savings, increase inventory accuracy, and reduction in clearance items due to incorrect inventory and excess ordering.

Since the announcement that Wal-Mart was introducing item-level tagging into their operations to manage their apparel inventory, item-level tagging has been an increased conversation for retailers of all types. For many retailers, the ease of re-stocking and immediate availability of the product a customer is looking for is crucial to their business and building a loyal customer base. According to AMR Research, products are out of stock between seven and 20 percent of the time. Item-level tagging can help to decrease or almost eliminate this problem with accurate inventory counts. In a post-recession economy, building a loyal customer base is top of mind for many retailers. By reducing the amount of time salespeople spend taking inventory or in the stock room, item-level tagging also allows staff to spend time working with customers to understand and pinpoint the exact location of a product the customer needs in order to generate more sales.

As a market leader in RFID and printing and labeling technologies, Zebra Technologies’ vast experience with item-level tagging technologies and customers introducing the solution has allowed them to see and be a part of the increased adoption and implementation of this inventory management solution. As the RFID market continues to undergo a shift from compliance-based tracking to more item-level tracking, retailers will have a unique opportunity to take advantage of a technology that can save them time, money and provide enhanced visibility into their inventory.

Carolyn Ricci
Product Manager,
Zebra Technologies

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