In today’s ever-evolving world of retail, technological advancements continue to reshape the shopping experience. One such innovation that has gained significant attention is the integration of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) robots. A technology that, as well as tracking inventory, is also making it easier for businesses to handle multichannel shopping services such as click-and-collect services, and enhance the overall efficiency of their logistics. RFID robots streamline inventory management, and optimise order fulfillment to help provide a seamless shopping journey for customers. In this blog, we talk more about the impact of RFID robots in retail, specifically in terms of click and collect and e-commerce services.
Managing inventory across multiple channels poses a significant challenge for companies, adding complexity to their operations. However, this complexity also amplifies the positive impact of efficiency improvements. When a business operates physical stores, an online store with a warehouse, product returns, and click-and-collect – manual tracking of these processes makes goods movement more complicated.
An introduction to RFID robots: identifying and tracking individual products
RFID robots play an important role in retail automation and improving inventory management for retailers. Equipped with RFID technology of antennas+readers, these robots can autonomously navigate through stores or warehouses, thanks to sensors like lasers and cameras, identifying and tracking products, as well as boxes and equipment. This eliminates the need for manual stocktaking, reducing errors and saving time. By keeping inventory data constantly updated, retailers can accurately monitor stock levels, anticipate demand, and efficiently replenish shelves.
Click and collect: RFID robots to help locate orders
Since their introduction, click and collect services have gained immense popularity, offering customers convenience and flexibility. RFID robots enhance the efficiency of these services by ensuring product availability.
“Gartner inquiry data indicates that for several Tier 1 retailers, more than half of online orders are now handled by a store, through either click and collect or store fulfillment (shipping from the store),” Source: Gartner’s report.
Customers anticipate a quick and hassle-free service when collecting their orders. This expectation is emphasised by the prevalence of click-and-collect offerings, which have been available for a number of years.
- When a customer places an order online, RFID robots are able to track the products from the warehouse or store shelves, to ensure accurate picking.
- RFID robots use the RFID tags on products to locate the items, minimising inefficiencies.
- The technology helps not only to prepare click and collect orders but also to optimise the time needed to do this.
By streamlining the fulfillment process, RFID robots enable retailers to provide a seamless click and collect experience, contributing to increased customer satisfaction.
StockBot in Decathlon stores: maintaining success of click and collect
As an example, the use of PAL Robotics’ StockBot RFID robots has helped Decathlon stores to maintain the success of their click and collect services, as well as identifying the products in the store to help prevent frustration for customers over stock discrepancies or outdated stock information, and reducing overstocking in stores where the demand is lower in comparison with other locations.
E-commerce services: robots working alongside human workers
By integrating RFID robots into e-commerce operations, retailers can meet the growing demands of online shoppers, and enhance the overall customer experience.
RFID robots navigate through warehouses including narrow spaces using advanced sensors, machine vision, and Artificial Intelligence algorithms, in order to read tags. In warehouses, these robots work alongside human workers to optimise order processing and help with (automated) order fulfilment.
- In warehouses, instead of manually searching the premises, workers can be guided directly to items using RFID and robotics technology.
- RFID robots can efficiently locate packaged items, ensuring orders are dispatched on time.
- Additionally, equipping warehouse exits with RFID technology can also lower the risk of discrepancies with the orders.
- RFID robots can also be used to track and manage valuable assets, such as tools, or equipment, within the warehouse environment.
- RFID robots help optimise warehouse layouts by continuously monitoring the movement of products and identifying patterns.
- The data collected by RFID robots can be analysed to gain insights into operational performance, such as order fulfillment times, and inventory turnover rates.
RFID robots can help improve productivity in order gathering, in order to help retailers to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive and dynamic retail landscape.
Enhanced customer experience: customers locate desired items with ease
The integration of RFID robots in retail positively impacts the customer experience. By using the robot data that is visible directly on the retailer’s app, the end user can benefit by being able to identify the availability of products and locate them in the store.
For online shoppers, RFID robots contribute to faster order fulfillment and accurate product delivery, leading to increased customer satisfaction. By reducing inaccuracies and delays, retailers can build trust and loyalty with their customers, helping to create long-term relationships.
RFID robots are transforming the retail landscape – and optimising click and collect services and e-commerce operations is just one part of this. In click and collect services, RFID robots enhance order fulfillment processes, reducing processing time. In addition, in the area of e-commerce, these robots improve order accuracy and speed up delivery.
PAL Roborics’ StockBot robot automates daily inventory tracking and data collection, while seamlessly integrating with retailer’s systems, and is the most mature in the inventory tracking solutions market. StockBot is used by retailers including Decathlon in stores across the globe. Read more about StockBot’s features in our blog post.
If you would like to find out more about PAL Robotics’ RFID retail robot StockBot, take a look at our website to read more. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts to ask more about StockBot’s capabilities for improving operations in your store or warehouse, or to book a demo. To stay up to date with our latest news in robotics and technology, remember to visit our blog homepage.