The Most Common Topics Explained

Glossary - RFID in Fashion Retail

Familiarize yourself with the most common used jargon, acronyms and abbreviations used in RFID projects in fashion retail.

January 19 2023

Whether you are just starting with RFID in fashion retail or have been at it for years, it can sometimes be dizzying to hear all the jargon, acronyms, and abbreviations.

To help you out, here's a glossary of the common words used in RFID in fashion retail.

Item identification

RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification): a technology that uses radio waves to identify and track objects, such as apparel items, using RFID chips.

SKU (Stock Keeping Unit). A distinct type of item for sale and all attributes associated with the item type that distinguish it from other item types. SKUs are proprietary and are not regulated or standardized. 

UPC (Universal Product Code). UPC is a 12-digit code used primarily in the United States and Canada to identify products in retail stores. It is the most common type of barcode used in North America and is the predecessor of GTIN.

EAN (European Article Number). EAN is a 13-digit code used primarily in Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world to identify products in retail stores. It is similar to UPC and is also a predecessor of GTIN.

GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) is a 14-digit number used to identify a product globally. It is used in barcode and RFID systems to identify and track products throughout the supply chain. Both UPC and EAN codes can be converted to GTIN by adding a leading zero to the UPC code or by adding an extra digit to the EAN code.

EPC (Electronic Product Code). An EPC is a unique identification code used to identify products and assets in RFID systems, similar to a barcode. EPC is used in RFID systems to provide real-time product tracking and inventory management. It is used in different industries and is not limited to retail, it also can be used in logistics, manufacturing, healthcare, and many other fields.

SGTIN (Serialized Global Trade Item Number) is a unique identification number assigned to a specific item, used in RFID tagging to identify and track products throughout the supply chain. It is used in RFID systems to identify and track individual items, rather than just the product group as a whole. SGTIN is used in the retail and apparel industry to track individual items, such as individual clothing items, which have the same product information but different serial numbers.

EPCIS (Electronic Product Code Information Service) is a set of standards and protocols for sharing and integrating EPC (Electronic Product Code) data across different RFID systems and applications. An EPCIS system can be thought of as a kind of "database" for EPC data, where different systems can "write" and "read" data to and from the database. This allows for real-time visibility and tracking of products throughout the supply chain, from the point of manufacture to the point of sale.


ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). An ERP system is a software system that helps businesses manage and automate their core business processes. ERP systems typically include modules for financial management, supply chain management, manufacturing, project management, and human resources.

OMS (Order Management System). An OMS system is a software system that manages and automates the process of receiving, processing, and fulfilling customer orders. The main function of an OMS system is to ensure that customer orders are processed and fulfilled in a timely and accurate manner.

WMS (Warehouse Management System). A software application designed to support and optimize warehouse functionality and distribution center management. 

WCS (Warehouse Control System). A software application that directs real-time activities within warehouses and distribution centers. 

POS (Point of Sale). A POS system is a software and hardware setup used in retail stores and other businesses to process sales transactions. POS systems typically include a computer, a cash register, a item scanner (barcode or RFID), and a credit card reader.

RFID Inventory Management

Inventory Accuracy. Inventory accuracy refers to the degree to which the inventory data in a retail store or warehouse matches the actual physical inventory on hand. This is an important metric to measure the effectiveness of an inventory management system. A high inventory accuracy (>98%) means that the inventory data is accurate and up-to-date, which helps retailers always have the right product available for customers.

Source Tagging. Source tagging is the process of attaching RFID tags or labels to products at the point of manufacture or import, rather than in a DC or in the stores itself. This allows businesses to track products throughout the supply chain, from the point of manufacture to the point of sale.

RFID reader. An RFID reader is a device that uses radio waves to communicate with RFID tags and retrieve information from them. RFID readers come in different types and sizes, and can be handheld, mobile, or fixed.

On-shelf Availability. On-shelf availability refers to the percentage of time that a product is available for purchase on store shelves. It is an important metric to measure the effectiveness of inventory management and supply chain operations. High on-shelf availability means that products are in stock and available for purchase, which improves customer satisfaction and sales.

Loss Prevention

EAS (Electronic Article Surveillance). EAS is a security system used in retail to prevent theft. EAS systems typically include a combination of antennas and security tags or labels. When someone attempts to remove a secured product from the store without paying for it, the EAS antenna will detect the tag and trigger an alarm, alerting store personnel to potential theft.

RFID-based EAS. RFID-based EAS is a security system that uses RFID technology to prevent theft. RFID-based EAS systems typically include RFID tags, which are attached to products, and RFID readers in the EAS system. RFID-based EAS systems are more advanced than traditional AM or RF-EAS systems, as they can provide detailed insights into shrinkage, enable real-time item tracking, and improve inventory accuracy.

RFID-based LP (Loss Prevention). RFID-based LP is a loss prevention approach that uses RFID technology to prevent loss and shrinkage not only in stores but throughout the whole supply chain. Also, it focuses on a broader topic than the loss of inventory due to shoplifting. RFID LP also focuses on employee theft, sweethearting, and supply chain fraud.