Long checkout lines at the grocery store are one of the biggest complaints about the shopping experience. Soon, these lines could disappear when the ubiquitous Universal Product Code (UPC) bar code is replaced by smart labels, also called radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. RFID tags are intelligent bar codes that can talk to a networked system to track every product that you put in your shopping cart.

Imagine going to the grocery store, filling up your cart and walking right out the door. No longer will you have to wait as someone rings up each item in your cart one at a time. Instead, these RFID tags will communicate with an electronic reader that will detect every item in the cart and ring each up almost instantly. The reader will be connected to a large network that will send information on your products to the retailer and product manufacturers. Your bank will then be notified and the amount of the bill will be deducted from your account. No lines, no waiting.

RFID tags, a technology once limited to tracking cattle, are tracking consumer products worldwide. Many manufacturers use the tags to track the location of each product they make from the time it’s made until it’s pulled off the shelf and tossed in a shopping cart. Proponents believe RFID cuts costs and simplifies inventory tracking and reordering. It may also allow marketers to respond quickly to shifts in demand, avoid under-and-overstocking, and reduce spoilage by automatically removing outdated perishables from the shelves.

Outside the realm of retail merchandise, RFID tags are tracking vehicles, airline passengers, Alzheimer’s patients and pets. Soon, they may even track your preference for chunky or creamy peanut butter. Some critics say RFID technology is becoming too much a part of our lives — that is, if we’re even aware of all the parts of our lives that it affects.

What do you think? Do you think RFID poses a threat to consumer privacy? Do you think the technology’s possible benefits to marketers and consumers outweigh the potential privacy concerns? What could marketers do to reassure consumers about privacy concerns if RFID comes
into widespread use?
(250 words)


preview of the answer..

The modern day competition in the market place has led to firms coming up with various ways of ensuring that they stay ahead of the pack in order to remain competitive. A company that is in a position to deliver its products or services to customers efficiently and faster is likely to remain competitive. As a result of this, firms in the grocery business have designed RFID tags which will be placed on the products. Once an individual has purchased the products, he or she will not have to queue for long periods at the counter. This is because the RFID tags will inform the individual’s transactions and will just walk out of the premises immediately after shopping …

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