In January, we went to New York with a number of relations. Among other things, we visited Retail’s Big Show of the National Retail Federation (NRF). Now, New York is inspiring enough in itself, but this big show keeps us informed about the latest developments and trends every year. What are the trends that we will see in our industry?
Trend #1: RFID (contactless data reading and storage)
Radio-frequency identification, or the contactless reading and storing of data, is booming. A simple example is opening your hotel room with a card that you hold in front of the door instead of sliding it into a reader. Companies in fashion and retail are also switching to this technology. The principle is simple: you place transmitters in a number of strategic places in the shop and you equip your collection with RFID tags. Then you have a complete overview of what is in your shop. Also stock management and logistics are easy with RFID. You always know exactly how many copies you have of an item and when stocks need to be replenished.
RFID is becoming more accessible
When this technology was first available, it was expensive and technically complicated to implement RFID. Because so many companies are adopting this method, RFID is becoming more accessible. Large fashion chains like Zara, H&M and G-Star are working hard on it. Especially for the middle and higher segment fashion and retail, RFID is an interesting technology.
For chains in the lower segment, the costs are still a challenge. Yet RFID is also interesting for the cheaper segment at a later stage. On the one hand because technology becomes cheaper over time. For example, RFID tags and equipment are made in large numbers, making the unit price increasingly competitive.
RFID in aviation
They also want to apply RFID in aviation. For example, by tagging new suitcases. How nice would it be to have an RFID tag in your suitcase, so that the suitcase is immediately recognised upon arrival in the departure hall and all your baggage is automatically dealt with?
What still needs to happen in this area of RFID is international harmonisation. We need agreements and standards. A challenge of this and other new technologies is that each country or geographical environment has its own ideas about standards. Is this new technology bad for health? Does it involve radiation? Does it interfere with the systems we now work with? In the case of RFID, it seems that it will not be long before international standards are established and it becomes as self-evident as the barcode.
Trend #2: Every employee own mobile device
In various industries, including retail, logistics, hospitality and the care sector, there is a growing need to know where employees are. Not to check what they are doing, but to be able to take action with the right people as quickly and accurately as possible. If a customer has a question or problem, you want to know who is around to answer it or solve it. This can be achieved if all employees have their own mobile device. At the moment, for cost reasons, a retail branch or store often only has a limited number of employees with a handterminal to scan products, check stocks, support customers, etc.
In the middle of this summer, a compact, multifunctional version of the handterminal will be introduced. This handterminal is robust, has a screen and a built-in scanner, and is equipped with functionalities to communicate (making a telephone and walkie-talkie superfluous) and to see where employees are located. In addition, these new devices are becoming much cheaper, which makes it interesting to provide a device to every employee. Zebra’s Workforce Connect software allows you to control and optimise these all-in-one handheld terminals.
Trend #3: Electronic Shelf Labelling
Electronic Shelf Labelling (ESL) is a new technology that will replace the barcode card on the shelves. It will be replaced by small screens the size of a shelf card, on which price information can be projected dynamically. This will make it a lot easier, in this age of the Internet and promotions, to have your pricing move dynamically along with your action leaflets and the price enforced on the Internet. In the past, this technology was still very expensive. Improved technology and simple control via the existing wireless network have made this more accessible. ESL has intelligence in it that makes it possible to display the stock. So you always know what you still have in stock and what needs to be replenished. This technology offers countless possibilities for the future. Intergamma has already run a pilot with ESL in a branch in Hilversum.
Trend #4: Location
You can’t shop easier than this! You make a wish list on your phone. For example for the DIY store you always go to. As soon as you enter the store, the system controlled by the smart LED lighting in the shop picks up your wish list and shows you the exact route, either on your phone or on your self-scanning terminal, that takes you past all the products you need or can benefit from.
What about locationing & privacy?
With this new development, privacy is something to consider. Are shops allowed to know who comes in and what customers buy? Are they allowed to make contact with the phones of their customers? As with cookies on websites, locationing is something that customers have to give permission for before they can experience the convenience.
Trend #5: Android, Android
You hardly ever see Windows operating systems anymore. It is all about Android on mobile devices. Next year, support for Windows OS will end for good. That is why we at Dalosy are working hard on this. Android maintenance, i.e. the seamless linking, management and updating of software and hardware, is the order of the day. We believe it is important to keep our clients informed and to take all worries off their hands.
Want to know more about all these new developments?
Is there anything you are interested in or would like more information about? Or do you have another question? We are happy to help. Just make an appointment. At Dalosy, the coffee is always fresh.