Target will roll out RFID price tags to improve inventory management

The retail giant says that once completed in 2016, the rollout will be one of the largest implementations of RFID in the retail industry.

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Target is turning to radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to make sure shoppers have consistent access to the chain's cheap-chic wares.

The Minneapolis-based retailer says it is working with key vendors to begin outfitting price tags with RFID smart labels, which Target hopes will improve inventory accuracy and out-of-stock issues.

Keri Jones, Target's EVP of global supply chain operations, announced the rollout in a blog post, adding that once completed, the RFID implementation will be one of the largest in retail.

Jones said Target plans to launch the smart tags in a small number of stores later this year, and then eventually expand to all stores some time in 2016.

In addition to improving inventory in-store, Target also expects RFID to have some impact on its e-commerce operations. Jones said the smart tags could help the retailer better fulfill online orders placed for store pickup, which she said account for 15 percent of Target.com purchases.

"As more and more of our guests shop us online, they expect a great, seamless experience between digital and stores," Jones said. "And adopting technology like RFID is one big step Target is taking to make sure we deliver."

While Target's motivation for using RFID is most likely about turning customers over faster, the announcement does come on heels of Target's botched Lilly Pulitzer collaboration. Heavy demand for the pastel printed clothing line left many shoppers empty handed and irate. Target's part in the snafu seemed to stem from an inexplicable lack of inventory insight.

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