RFID supply chain mandates launched by a few big retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target are now well documented and understood. But many other retailers are finding problems and frustrations when they try to apply RFID in the same way. Why? Because, says ABI Research analyst, Sara Shah, “There is no cookie-cutter approach to RFID.” In a new study, the research firm finds a disconnection: RFID manufacturers — many of them relatively new companies — do not understand retail; and many retailers do not understand how RFID can benefit them. This leaves them frustrated and slows down market adoption. The new report, “The RFID Retail Market,” examines how retailers are adopting RFID and the ways they will realize an ROI, as well as the possible business process changes it will entail. “Wal-Mart’s approach is creative,” says Shah. “It is very worthwhile for them, which is why they are pushing forward on schedule. Other retailers follow, thinking that Wal-Mart’s business case will apply just as well to them. But it may not work, because every business and every supply chain is different.” So, many retailers turn to their usual consulting companies — often one of the largest half-dozen. But big consultants are rarely early adopters of new technologies; they are often content to let ideas mature before getting involved. They are often less creative and imaginative. Beyond supply chain management, nobody knows how many ways RFID can be used; known applications include security and “back door theft” prevention, contactless payments, advertising and promotions.