At NXP, we believe that NFC will revolutionize our lives over the next few years. The penetration figures speak for themselves: over 100m NFC-enabled devices were shipped in 2012, with ABI Research expecting that the number of NFC devices in circulation will exceed 500 million units by 2014 and nearly 2 billion by 2017.
But while NFC is still mainly associated with media sharing and mobile payments, we observe a fast growing interest in a whole load of other applications where convenience and intuitive interaction is key for success. Enhancing the shopping experience is a case in point.
One of the most popular demo areas on our stand at MWC 2013 was our retail zone. This showcased some of the work we’ve been doing with partners such as Think&Go NFC and Thinaire to develop solutions for retailers and manufacturers of consumer goods that could have a real impact on the way that we shop in-store and interact with the retail environment.
For example, French retailer Casino has worked with Think&Go NFC to open the world’s first NFC-enabled supermarket. By using an NFC shopping app, consumers can tap electronic shelf labels equipped with NFC tags to fill in their virtual shopping basket, access detailed product information (such as reviews, calories count, allergy alerts, etc) or even get discount coupons. And once the consumer has decided to buy, he simply taps his NFC-enabled smartphone at the check-out desk, resulting in faster transactions and shorter queues.
Building on these types of in-store interactions, Thinaire has developed an NFC marketing platform enabling brands to monitor consumer interest in their products in real-time. By tapping the NFC product tag in store, shoppers can register their wish to receive more information from the brand. Similarly, an NFC-enabled in-store advertisement can come fully to life by delivering a link to a video or social media page when customers tap the poster. Brands can measure, evaluate and adapt their marketing campaigns in real-time through NFC-generated consumer feedback. Thinaire’s technology has already been successfully trialed at Safeway in California.
In the future, it won’t be the brand that pushes information to the customer –rather, it’ll be the consumer’s decision whether they interact with the brand or not. This ability to track consumer ‘intent’ using non-invasive technologies such as NFC opens up a new world of customer engagement and personalized shopping. For both retailers and manufacturers, benefits could be huge.