RFID: The “New” Barcode Every Retailer Needs

What if you could utilize a “smarter,” automated barcode that remotely transferred product data without needing a line-of-sight? What if that smart barcode allowed you to identify, track, ship, secure, and sell that same product seamlessly and effortlessly?

Allow us to introduce you to RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology. It’s the present (not the future) wave when speaking about intelligent warehousing and store automation. RFID can provide the store and warehouse efficiency you need for the ROI you want in your store and fulfillment center locations.

What is RFID?

As mentioned above, you can view RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) as a super-smart barcode with exponentially more capabilities. You’ll gain more with RFID than scanning, purchasing, and updating inventory metrics.

The components of RFID include smart labels or RFID tags, RFID readers, and antennae. 

  • Smart labels or tags: These are labels and tags are encoded with data. Labels and tags come in many varieties and can ride on nearly any kind of product. You can embed them in staff ID badges just as easily as sticking them on boxes, mailers, or pallets. RFID tags come in two varieties, passive and active. 
    • Passive RFID tags will require an external power source (usually a “reader”) to transmit data. Passive tags only transmit data when “turned on” by a reader and provide a less expensive RFID option. 
    • Active RFID tags have an internal power source like a battery. Active tags transmit data continually and cost more to use. 
    • Smart labels differ from RFID tags. Smart labels utilize barcode technology and RFID coding. Smart labels feature ease of printing on adhesive paper sheets, while RFID tags require more time and expense to create with other materials.
  • Antenna: Labels and antennae must function together to transmit label data to its destination. In RFID, the antenna is affixed to the label, and then typically coated with protective material. Smart labels imbed the RFID tag along with barcode information.
  • RFID readers: Readers use radio waves to read and capture data encoded on smart labels and RFID tags. In passive tags, the reader powers up the tag to transmit data. The reader converts the data it receives for use in other digital places, like databases or the cloud.

Why Upgrade to RFID?

  1. Storage and function: RFID outshines conventional barcodes in data storage and capacity. You can store significantly more item data on an RFID tag or smart label. RFID tags also offer a more durable option to barcodes. No more smearing, tearing, or label destruction that could occur in stores or warehouses.
  2. Distance scanning capability: Further, RFID technology enables data transfer from product to destination without needing a sight-line scanner. The radio waves that the RFID tags emit transmit to a reader whether the product is in front of you or on the back of a distant shelf.
  3. Enabling expanded tasks: RFID technology can help companies with the following applications:
    • Counterfeit prevention (in pharmaceutical companies, for example)
    • Managing inventory
    • Tracking personnel
    • Restricting building access
    • Managing supply chains
    • Employee and contractor ID badges
    • Tracking assets

How do I implement RFID technology?

It’s essential to partner with a company that will delve into your unique warehouse and store automation challenges. Only then can you strategize the solutions that best fit your business model.

Storeworks’ team of architects, designers, software specialists, and project managers will dive deeply into your efficiency, security, and data use goals. We’ll work with you to match your goals with your business model. 

We’ll create an RFID strategy that builds on your current success and fills the gaps in your “smart” store and warehousing operations. We’ll provide end-to-end implementation guidance to ensure your RFID conversion integrates smoothly in every phase of roll-out.

All our innovations at Storeworks place your customer experience at the apex of your success. When your warehouse, fulfillment, back-office, and store-front technology protocols play well together, your customers win, and they keep coming back.

Contact us today to find out how your company can benefit from a customized RFID upgrade.