Addressing Retail Industry Challenges with RAIN RFID Technology


I’ve spent my career building strategic partnerships with customers across the retail industry. While the industry is made up of a diverse range of players, each with their own complex, nuanced strategies, I’ve seen many retailers get one thing wrong in the last ten years: failing to move as fast as their customers technologically.

Historically, the retail industry has adapted to new technologies far more slowly than consumers. However, halfway into 2024, it’s clear this is the year brands will start to catch up, with many looking to employ the latest technologies to improve customer experience, attract additional customers and serve them across channels, and ultimately increase profitability.

In this article, I’ll explore three ways the retail industry can use RAIN RFID technology to solve some of its longest-standing challenges. RAIN RFID is a passive, battery-free wireless technology that connects billions of everyday items to the internet. These systems enable retailers to identify, locate, authenticate and engage with every item that’s tagged with a RAIN RFID tag, providing rich, real-time data insights.

Retailers are using RAIN RFID in a wide variety of applications, including inventory management, loss prevention and shipment verification. In fact, it’s likely that most retail customers interact with RAIN RFID tags every day without even knowing it. So how will brands drive new technology innovations to better serve their customers with RAIN RFID this year?

Exchanging Investments in Self-Checkout for Grab and Go Tech

While self-checkouts were once lauded by retailers for boosting efficiency, reducing labor costs and improving speed, many leading brands are pulling away from the traditional self-checkout. Global retailers have cited self-checkouts as a concerning and growing contributor to shrink through increased shoplifting and customer error rates. In fact, in 2022, the National Retail Federation (NRF) found that the average shrink rate of 1.6% represents over $112 billion in losses, putting additional pressure on retail sales headed into a challenging economic climate.

As a result, major retailers like Walmart and Target have limited self-checkout lanes and, in some cases, ceased use of the machines altogether. RAIN RFID can power solutions like Just Walk Out, giving much of the same benefits of self-checkout, such as speed and reduced customer-employee interaction, with increased automation and accuracy.

Through RAIN RFID, retailers can offer a technology-first approach to shopping for customers in which the customer enters the store, selects the items they wish to purchase, and walks out, with billing handled automatically by tagging and tracking the goods that leave the store. We will see Just Walk Out technology rise in popularity among retailers looking to streamline the checkout process, improve loss prevention and enable accurate and fast transactions for customers.

Investing in Critical Inventory Visibility

As every supply chain leader knows, the ability to react swiftly and confidently to disruptions is key. In just the year ahead, we can predict major supply chain disruptions caused by the crisis in the Red Sea, the war in Ukraine and the conflict in Israel. But accurate and real-time inventory data is critical to ensuring a resilient supply chain. In fact, when retailers look ahead to next year, real-time inventory accuracy is a top challenge driving retail digital transformation.

More retail leaders will invest in improving supply chain visibility through technologies like RAIN RFID to help them beat supply chain challenges alongside the rapidly changing needs of their customers by delivering new levels of inventory visibility. Brands can attach low-cost, durable RAIN RFID tags to inventory, use RAIN RFID readers to identify and locate inventory and connect real-time data about that inventory with their enterprise business systems for higher level agility. It’s a win-win for customers and retailers alike.

The rest of this year is sure to bring great technological change as retailers across the globe work to keep up and deliver the advanced consumer experience their customers expect. A common industry saying is the best technology is the technology you don’t notice at all. RAIN RFID is already delivering on that promise in retail, working behind the scenes to improve every facet of the retail experience, and that’s only set to accelerate further in the coming year as retailers look to RAIN RFID to drive new customer experience innovations.

Ashley Burkle is the Business Development Director, Solutions Partners at Impinj.