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RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)

Getting to know each and every one of your products


With RFID you can identify every single one of your products with a serialised number. This enables you to take inventory management to the next level. Item level tagging lets you know where each individual product is along your supply chain – giving you much more visibility of your inventory and operational processes. With accurate information you have the flexibility to act in real time – which is vital for delivering the service your omnichannel shoppers expect.

What is RFID?

RFID refers to the use of radio waves to read and capture information stored on a tag attached to an object. An RFID solution is principally made up of four components:

What is RFID

Feature of RFID Operational potential Benefit
No line of sight required Automate processes Reduced labour cost for manual scans
Unattended item level identification Reader network can automatically identify objects at the item level Higher level of inventory accuracy

Enables tracking that is difficult/cost prohibitive with barcodes
Data capacity Provide additional item tracking information (lot, batch, product history) Reduced need for internal system integration

Improved granularity of data Better inventory management

Higher level of visibility and traceability of products
Read-write capability Tag can serve as a portable database Reduced systems integration

Reduced data storage
Reading speed Higher speed – reads multiple items simultaneously Elimination of manual processes and labour for repetitive scans
Durability “Permanently” tag assets or reusable containers Eliminate time/labour associated with re-labelling items/assets over time

Enables tracking of assets/items that are not suitable for barcodes

What‘s EPC enabled RFID?

Electronic Product Code (EPC) enabled RFID is the global standard maintained by GS1 for RFID technology. Created in collaboration with RFID suppliers and retail users, the EPC standard defines three key elements of the technology:

How data is to be stored on the tag

The data structure for tags is a simple extension of the widely used GS1 system of product identifiers. EPC RFD codes consist of each product’s Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) – these are sometimes called UPC or EANs – with the addition of a serial number for each product instance and some instructions for the reader.

How a tag talks to the reader

The EPC standard provides a blueprint for how tags and readers talk to each other – this means that as long as both are EPC compliant, any combination of tags and readers will work together. In order to do this, the industry has reduced the variability of tags and readers, uniting in the use of passive, Ultra High Frequency (UHF) tags.

How readers talk to business systems

The final part of the EPC standard – how the reader links the data that it captures back into your systems – ultimately ensures the interoperability of your RFID solution. This enables the efficient and automated communication of data across your network of departments, suppliers and partners.

Measuring the impact of RFID in Retailing

Measuring the impact of RFID in Retailing

Our report summarises the key learnings from 10 leading retailers and brands that have invested in RFID technologies


Determining return on investment

Use our ROI calculator which has been developed, in conjunction with RFID Journal, to give a basic understanding of the indicative costs and potential benefits you are likely to incur when implementing RFID technology

RFID Toolkit

RFID Toolkit

Your complete guide to implementing RFID

Apparel brochure

RFID in apparel retail brochure

Expert advice from a neutral source – putting you on the right track

Apparel news

RFID news and articles

Read the latest RFID news and opinion pieces from GS1 UK