Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Adoption in the South African Retail Sector: an Investigation of Perceptions Held by Members of the Retail Sector Regarding the Adoption Constraints


  • Chris Upfold
  • Haidi Liu


RFID, diffusion of innovation, adoption barriers, business case, supply chain management


Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is a method of identifying unique items using radio waves that communicate between RFID tags and readers without line‑of‑sight readability. Application areas include person identification, logistics, pharmaceutical, access control, security guard monitoring and asset management. One of the areas where RFID promises excellent potential is in the retail industry for the tracking of goods and products throughout the supply chain. There are concerns around numerous RFID adoption barriers. Decision makers in the South African retail sector seem to be adopting a wait‑and‑see approach. In an attempt to identify and explore these barriers, a literature review was conducted identifying 29 unique barriers to RFID adoption. A survey instrument, informed by these barriers, was constructed and administered to members of the retail sector in South Africa. The research reveals that the South African retail sector is aware of the benefits in adopting RFID technology, however, they have identified numerous adoption barriers that will need mitigation before they will commit to adopting RFID. The research confirms six main categories with several adoption barriers in each, needing to be addressed. The main categories include, RFID skills shortage, a lack of standardization, high costs of RFID devices, the difficulty of integrating with current legacy systems and a lack of familiarity with RFID systems.



1 Jan 2010