Customers today want the latest product and services, but at the same time, they demand the best shopping experience. Consumers are enjoying more choices and have greater power than ever before. Retailer and brands stretch their boundaries to meet customer expectation throughout online and offline platforms. However, only the most connected, convenient and relevant experiences will earn loyalty points from customers and not vice versa.

RFID Technology

The RFID technology has replaced barcoding systems in the recent years. If you are a mediocre or a large scaled business, you know exactly how time-consuming and expensive inventory management is. In recent years, retailers and manufacturers excessively use RFID to solve business practices. When we think of RFID tags, the first thing that pops into people’s minds are usually the tags on retail clothes.

There are distinct advantages of RFID over the barcode system. RFID allows retailers to scan objects with no requirement for line-of-sight and read many tags at the same time. Each RFID tags contain high memory capacity which can carry dynamic information about the product. Therefore, it is highly reliable and robust with no human intervention.

On the other hand, coding for the barcode lacks clarity. Also, the code needs to be scannable, free from dirt, smudging or other damage caused by constant movement of packages. To scan, the code must be within a short distance and position right that can be read by a scanner. The barcode system is quite time-consuming because one code can be scanned at a time at a reasonable distance apart. The use of RFID tags can eliminate many of the problems associated with bar-coding technology.

RFID in Supply Chain Management

The RFID technology, in supply chain perspective, is a huge success; a manufacturer can identify with the click of a button how many stocks are likely to reach their expiration date in the next few days and where they are located at various outlets. Retailers and brands can efficiently manage their inventory and eliminate out of stocking and overstocking of supplies. Consumers can highly benifit with this technology as it provides consumer convenience according to the market demand.

RFID doesn’t limit to only tracking inventory, today RFID has widened its scope as it provides a high level of privacy regarding securing personal information like nationality address, passport number etc. The world soccer tournament utilized the RFID smart chips for tickets. In addition, various other industry also makes use of smart chips for optimal performance. For instance, recording race timing at most major marathons, building access control for security purposes, product authentication, livestock asset tracking, warehousing, supply chain and logistics management, library checkouts, toll tags, parking lot access and event access etc.

How is RFID different from Barcodes?

  1. The Radio-frequency Identification tags do not need a direct line of sight, these tags are embedded or hidden.
  2. The RFID can survive in harsh environments and don’t need special precaution in outdoors.
  3. RFID tags read at a rate of forty or more tags per second whereas Bar Codes usually take half a second or more per barcode.
  4. The tags can be read at distances up to 300 feet whereas Bar Codes has relatively lesser distance not more than 15 feet.
  5. RFID tags can be coded while Bar Codes do not have the read/write capability.

However, barcoding systems don’t provide the functionality in retail operations as it lacks the inability to scan and produce labels efficiently, due to the requirement for a direct line of sight to scan the object. Over the years, the retailer’s consider the barcoding system a wasteful and time-consuming resource by the retailers.

Here are a few cons of barcoding system listed by the retailers –

  1. Lack of OS updates can hinder around your store performance. Barcoding systems need to be up to date to provide optimal functioning to provide maximum productivity.
  2. 1D Barcode scanners are inadequate to scan the 2D code and may cause many bad reads, employees spending more time scanning each code, thereby slowing down checkout lines.
  3. Retailers must prepare to invest more time and money on maintaining the barcode printers in case of jamming and failing, the retailer might face a huge loss due to the slowdown and impact negatively on customers due to the delay in shipping or in-store pickup.


Written By: Saad Khan Choudhary

Solutions Architect