Target puts RFID rollout on the fast track
Target plans to complete one of the largest rollouts of item-level radio frequency identification (RFID) technology in retailing by next year.
According to A Bullseye View blog article penned by Keri Jones, executive vice president, global supply chain and operations at Target, the company is now working with suppliers to insert "a ‘smart label’ on price tags" to improve inventory accuracy and reduce the incidence of out-of-stocks.
The rollout of the technology will begin in "a small number of stores late this year" before going chain-wide in 2016. The plan is focus on key categories including women’s, baby and children’s apparel, and home décor, according to Ms. Jones. The products were chosen because of their general popularity but also because they represent some of the items most frequently purchased online and then picked up in-store. Click and pick orders now account for 15 percent of Target.com purchases.
Source: Target’s A Bullseye View blog
"This unobtrusive but significant technology will increase efficiencies by providing greater visibility into our inventory," wrote Ms. Jones. "That means guests will better be able to find out whether we’ve got the item at their Target store or at others nearby."
In a separate but related note, Ms. Jones also announced Target is a sponsor of the RFID Lab at Auburn University. The facility, which will open this week, will focus on ways RFID can improve customers’ shopping experiences.
Despite the upbeat tone of Ms. Jones’s article, Target is actually playing a game of catch-up when it comes to item-level RFID. Fifty-seven percent of the retailers surveyed in the "2014 GS1 US Standards Usage Survey" reported implementing item level Electronic Product Code-enabled radio frequency identification. Target is among the 21.1 percent that plan to implement the technology within the next two years.
- RFID: New Tag Technology Will Elevate Target’s Guest Experience – A Bullseye View
- RFID use reaching a ‘tipping point’ – RetailWire
What will implementation of item-level RFID tracking in categories such as clothing and home décor mean for Target’s ability to reduce out-of-stocks in stores? How do you see the use of RFID affecting the chain’s omnichannel sales efforts?