The Implementation of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)? An Exploratory Study into the Preparedness of Retailers
27 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2006
Date Written: September 2006
In a study carried out in 2004, Ireland ranked as the second most sophisticated country after Sweden in terms of its use of ICT in business (Booz, Allen Hamilton, 2004). This paper reviews an innovative technology, Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) which could have major impacts on national and international business. A study was undertaken to critically evaluate the readiness of Irish companies for RFID, focusing particularly on the retail industry. This study attempts to explain the reasoning behind the lack of preparedness for what could be a beneficial and transformational technology. The marketing implications of RFID are discussed and suggestions for further research into the implementation challenges of this technology are posited.
In considering marketing as an 'information-handling problem' (Holland and Naude, 2004), ICTS such as RFID can bring clarity, control and rigour to what was once intuitive and guesswork (Friend and Walker, 2001). The benefits that RFID can bring include more accurate data delivered in real-time and a deeper knowledge of customer behaviour, not possible with current marketing IT systems.
This exploratory study indicates that the majority of retailers who participated are not prepared for RFID, or its implications such as increased data. Thus RFID appears to be another technology which links to the Brady et al (2004) contention that most ICTs in marketing are both overlooked, and in turn underexploited. The authors call for more in-depth research into the opportunities and challenges that RFID could hold for business and marketing nationally and internationally. A national study should be carried out in order to show how prepared Ireland is for RFID, across a variety of different industries. Ireland could be regarded essentially as a mini-laboratory for future RFID research, with the island hosting a major study followed by a national implementation initiative which could monitor RFID implementation for best practices for national and international deployment.
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