Barcode technology could transform retail operations
Traditional barcodes have long been a fixture in the retail industry, yet more recent developments, such as Quick Response codes, radio frequency identification (RFID) and near field communications, could change the ways merchants track inventory, conduct transactions at the point of sale and interact with customers.
For example, smartphone applications that allow consumers to compare prices by scanning a barcode could have a significant impact on the way they shop. Tom Austin, a Gartner fellow and vice president of the company, wrote for the research firm's blog that the smartest retailers are dealing with the better-informed shopper by combining brick-and-mortar locations with websites that showcase their offerings.
The proliferation of smartphones could turn retail, distribution, wholesaling and manufacturing "on its ear," Austin says. Yet more intelligent technology also provides the chance to make billions of dollars by building and executing innovative new business models, he says.
While Austin believes some retailers fear the change barcodes may bring to the industry, others in the sector are choosing to use the technology to reach out to customers. The RFID Journal reports that many are using the technology to achieve multi-channel selling.
According to the news source's calculations, a store can boost sales by 4 percent by implementing RFID, seeing a return on its investment in approximately six months.
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