Storefront Backtalk--The usual assumption about item-level RFID is that it's perfect for managing inventory all the way from the stockroom to store shelves and through the checkout. But if JCPenney CIO Ed Robben is right, that approach is wrong. The 1,100-store chain has been testing RFID just on high-SKU items, such as athletic shoes, bras and denim apparel—and isn't using it at the POS at all.

Of course, testing RFID on just a few items means it's useless at checkout time—unless everything has a tag, you still need scanners for the items that don't. But it also means instead of trying to speed checkout, RFID is only being used to keep shelves stocked in specific categories of goods. By dumping the end-to-end goal, it may be possible to get more real leverage out of RFID—and keep the cost and supplier headaches down, too.  Read more!