How RFID Technology Helps Retailers Fight Off Theft

How RFID Technology Helps Retailers Fight Off Theft

How RFID Technology Helps Retailers Fight Off Theft

Retailers are facing numerous challenges in today’s post-pandemic economy. Unreliable supply chains, competitive product pricing, and increasing overheads are all placing retail companies under enormous pressure. In addition, retailers nowadays also face a greater need to minimise the risk of theft during each step of their operations. To respond effectively to these problems, many retailers are turning to technologies, including radio frequency identification (RFID).

RFID in retail can be utilised to track goods that are often moved or misplaced and ultimately prevent shoplifting or theft. In Singapore, more than 3,200 shoplifting cases were reported in 2022 alone. These incidents could result in millions of losses for retailers, and as such, implementing RFID and other effective anti-theft measures has become necessary.

Read on to find out how RFID can help retailers fight off theft and maximise their ROI.

1. Extensive oversight of all assets

Initially, businesses only made use of RFID to track and monitor their expensive assets. For instance, when a company issues a laptop or tablet to an employee, they can add an RFID tag to prevent the equipment from being brought outside the establishment without proper authorisation. As the RFID technology becomes cheaper and more accessible, retailers quickly began adopting RFID to regulate inventory throughout the supply chain.

What the majority of retailers discovered was that although stock replenishment and inventory management may have been the principal objective, the ROI from RFID deployments went far beyond expectations. The cost reduction that comes with adopting RFID in retail scenarios makes it an excellent solution for developing a complete oversight and asset-management system. For retailers, utilising RFID readers at every exit location can trigger an alarm if thieves try to slip through the door with stolen items.

2. Inventory visibility through item-level tagging

When it comes to tracking goods throughout the retail supply chain, RFID is known for being a reliable and comprehensive tool. A business can deploy RFID to manage and monitor every product in its inventory. By partnering with manufacturers, retailers can utilise RFID sensors to record an item’s providence, quality details, shipping information, and intended destination. They may then use RFID tags to collate data that are necessary for making smart business decisions, estimating demand, and avoiding inventory shrink.

In item-level tracking of inventory, retailers need to know how many items they have, where they are currently located, and how long it would take to replace a product if it gets lost in transit – RFID tags can monitor all this information. Hence, the increasing popularity of RFID for inventory tracking is not surprising at all. An added benefit is that once the employees of a company know that every item is being tracked, it automatically deters them from committing theft. 

3. Accurate Audit Trail

In comparison to other technologies, such as barcodes, RFIDs have the ability to store particular information on their tags during various stages of the retail process. Retailers can timestamp arrivals at specific locations, keep track of time between destinations, and record data about who accessed an item or a set of inventories at each step throughout the supply chain. If an item becomes missing, the person who accessed it can be identified, and the exact location where it was lost can be determined.

Moreover, RFID sensors can even measure other elements in the procedure, such as registering time in transit and shock damage, and recording the accurate location of items in a warehouse or store. This great level of audit trail and inventory supervision provides an immediate ROI by minimising retail shrink within just weeks. Retailers can pull up the complete history of a product throughout the supply chain, thereby assisting them in investigating lost items.

4. Employee tracking

Tracking employee movements is another way for retailers to reduce shrink and determine anyone responsible for losses. If a company’s staff uses access cards to move through various zones of a warehouse or store, it can be easy to identify where everyone was located when an item went missing. RFID tracking for personnel enables retailers to detect the likely suspect by simply pulling up the access history for every employee.

By combining the information taken from the access history with a company’s security surveillance system, it should become way easier to build an extensive case against the thief. Many law enforcement organisations in Singapore and other countries already utilise RFID tags to monitor personnel and visitors throughout their establishments. Retailers can adopt the same principles and deploy RFID to avoid theft and fraud at all their locations.


As economies around the world face inflation due to a global health crisis, it is no surprise that many retailers are being affected by an increasing rate of shrinkage from shoplifting and theft. These crimes can lead to millions or billions of financial losses if not prevented. Fortunately, several available technologies, such as RFID, can help retailers fight off theft. RFID in inventory management, asset monitoring, and employee tracking can save retailers from the possible catastrophic consequences of retail theft.