With a combination of video surveillance and radio frequency identification (RFID), retailers can not only improve inventory protection but also gather insights into customer preference and buying habits. RFID utilizes radio waves to send signals to tags or labels attached to objects to be identified. The tag includes a unique serial number and is embedded with a transmitter and receiver. Any object containing a tag can be tracked through two-way radio transmitter-receivers called interrogators or readers that sends a signal to the tag and reads its response. The tag can operate several feet away and does not require to be within direct sight of the reader unlike a barcode.
In the retail sector RFID tagging has become an industry standard to prevent merchandise loss according to the report. The tag tracks the movements of merchandise through a store and enables inventory management without manual data entry. When a stolen item passes through the RFID readers placed by the exits, it triggers the alarm and can also identify the object. A 2016 RFID Journal report states that more than 8 billion RFID tags were sold worldwide, with the retail market accounting for 60 percent of sales.
When coupled with video technology such as closed circuit television cameras, RFID becomes more versatile in enabling retailers to their inventory items and monitor customer movements throughout the store. In case of theft, CCTV video footage and RFID tags can be used as evidence for prosecution. Moreover, combining RFID and video technology, facilitates retailers to gain insights and information regarding customers’ buying habits, preferences and shopping patterns. Leveraging RFID and video technology in conjunction with facial recognition software, retailers can identify shoppers’ reaction to products and displays, along with an understanding of which demographic responds to specific merchandise.