Global retailer Walmart is proceeding with mandates for radio frequency identification technology, requiring its suppliers in some departments to include RFID tags on all products provided to the store by September 2, 2022. The mandate includes makers of home goods products, as well as some hard lines (such as hardware and automotive products), as well as some entertainment and toys. The mandate follows an expansion of RFID use in the stores for apparel goods.
In 2020, Walmart began to deploy UHF RFID technology at its stores to track apparel goods as they were received, displayed and sold. The passive UHF RFID labels are linked to each garment to create a unique identity that can be captured via handheld or fixed readers. That makes it possible for the retailer to ensure proper stock levels at each store, and to thus ensure on-time replenishment. Since launching the technology, says Shelly McDougal, Walmart’s senior director of merchandising, “We have seen dramatic results in our ability to ensure product is available for our customers, leading to improved online order fulfillment and customer satisfaction.”
As a result of this success, Walmart says it decided to expand with this most recent mandate. To support its suppliers, the company plans to host training sessions and share standards and technical requirements to help get them started. Many suppliers, an unnamed Walmart spokesperson says, are already familiar with RFID and have a current system in place by which they are applying tags to products to meet the needs of other retailers. Further mandates could be ahead. Going forward, McDougal adds, “We look forward to expanding the technology into more categories to further improve inventory accuracy across the business, provide a better in-store shopping experience for customers and drive more online and pick-up-in-store capabilities.”RFID Journal