A key element of this transformation is developing a highly precise and granular view with deep insights into what is actually going on in the store by enabling it with sensors and data collection devices. That is not just some hypothetical vision of a store of the future. Key technology elements are available today to make this possible. In particular, many retailers are using RFID (radio frequency identification) today across their chains to achieve superior item-level visibility, a key enabler of the new re-imagined store.
The use of RFID in retail has been accelerating in the past few years, with a growing number of retailers adopting this technology widely and successfully across their businesses. Retailers will apply RFID tags to over five billion items this year, growing to about seven billion tagged items next year. Most of these existing deployments rely on handheld RFID readers, which have proven to be very flexible, easy to deploy, and cost-effective. Recently, pilots with newer technologies, such as overhead RFID readers, offer the promise of a more automated and continuous real-time view of what is happening in the store, enabling use cases beyond optimized inventory management to fulfill the vision of the re-imagined store and shopping experience.
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