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Robots in Retail: RFID Scanning Systems

rfid scanning

Fellow Robots believes the future of retail is here. And we are helping to invent it! We have combined RFID with computer vision in order to track inventory across multiple product types. This includes clothing, consumer electronics, and sporting goods. With the new technologies, Navii can now capture even more detailed data and insight. We’re talking from more than 700 RFID tags per second with higher than 99% accuracy!

But What is RFID? 

Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) is the use of radio waves to read and capture information stored on a tag attached to an object.  A tag can be read from up to several feet away. And it does not need to be within direct line-of-sight of the reader to be tracked.

Navii, who first appeared in late 2015, already includes computer vision capabilities for scanning store shelves. This is to help determine out-of-stock or misplaced items for retailers such as grocery stores and pharmacies. With RFID scanning, robots can now determine inventory levels for products that utilize RFID. They can also determine those that don’t sit on a standard grocery store shelf. 

And How Does It Work?

An RFID system is made up of two parts: a tag (label) and a reader. RFID tags are embedded with a transmitter and a receiver. The RFID component on the tags has two parts. The first is a microchip that stores and processes information. The second is an antenna to receive and transmit a signal. The tag contains the specific serial number for one specific object.

In a retail setting, RFID tags may be attached to articles of clothing. When an inventory associate uses a handheld RFID reader to scan a shelf of jeans, the associate is able to differentiate between two pairs of identical jeans. How?  The information stored on the RFID tag! Each pair will have its own serial number. With one pass of the handheld RFID reader, the associate can find a specific pair. But even more, they can tell how many of each pair is on the shelf. And they can also see which pairs need to be replenished. The associate can learn all of this information without having to scan each individual item.

Real-Case Scenario

Tracey is overworked and overstretched. She is so close to the promotion she’s been working so hard for. With a big work event coming up, she knows she could seal the deal of her career trajectory by making a strong impact. Her heart begins pulsing as she steps into your store, as she despises shopping and fitting rooms. She moves rather frantically through the rows of dresses, her eyes straining to find the perfect dress. Like a mirage in a desert, she catches a glimpse from her peripheral vision – the perfect dress. Tracey practically runs to her prey, crossing her fingers that her size is in stock.

Luck is not on her side, as your store has every size available except hers – a six. Tracey bites her lip, convinced she overlooked her size and goes through the dresses again. To no avail, she looks in the racks nearby, praying to find a discarded size six. Fifteen minutes later, she feels defeated. And she leaves your store, dissatisfied and now worried about her career path.

All the while, there was a lone size six in her dream dress near the men’s dressing rooms. With the utilization of RFID technology, Tracey’s experience would have been quite different.

But Why Robots?

Multiple read points and localization ensures accurate identification. Each unique product pairs with accurate results. We’re defining localization as the precise x and y coordinates of areas in the store. By getting reads from multiple locations, Navii provides highly accurate product locations automatically.  And our robot does not call off or get lazy and skip sections.

Other features of Fellow Robots offerings include:

  • Planogram compliance
  • Out of stock identification and remediation
  • Price variance and correction
  • Exact product location for BOPIS and Customer Service apps

NAVii Inventory Control Software Improvements

There are three main ways to improve customer service. Ensuring the item is on the shelf is where it should be. Making sure it is priced right. And affirming the item is in stock. Fellow provides actionable information to the store manager and workforce every day. Which continually helps to ensure the highest service level possible. But Fellow does not stop there. We provide necessary reporting to help operation’s management optimize customer service. And we can help direct actions to improve price accuracy and in-stock positions.

With the addition and combination of image scanning and RFID scanning, Fellow is positioned to offer a complete inventory management system for retailers that combine hardgoods, consumer product goods, and apparel.  For more information from Fellow, contact us today!

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