A few months ago, I posted a blog about NFC’s role as a disruptive driver in consumer goods. I described how, by connecting brands to consumers in a fast, seamless, and secure way, NFC is adding everyday items to the Internet of Things (IoT).
For brand owners in the retail sector, NFC is an ideal investment because it combines physical products with a secure digital application, and thereby creates an enhanced, better protected brand experience.
And now, NFC just got another big boost. Apple recently announced that iOS 11 will support NFC tag reading on phones. That’s a game-changer for NFC, since all iPhone 7s and newer models will be able to read NFC tags just like Android devices. It means that most of the two billion people worldwide who own smartphones will also have an NFC reader to interact with NFC tags. As a result, NFC will enable many more consumer and brand-owner benefits.
The Special Case of Fashion & Accessories
Apparel and footwear – a global market expected to reach USD 2 trillion within the next year – presents a unique set of challenges to brand owners.
Some analysts are forecasting that, by 2021, 20% of all apparel in the developed world will be connected to the cloud. Vandagraf’s estimates are more conservative, but still quite bullish: they estimate that, by 2021, there will be 1.1 billion IoT-connected apparel items that can interact with mobile readers.
As mentioned above, NFC does more for brand owners than link consumers to websites. It protects brands with digital authentication, increases consumer engagement with a high degree of interaction, and uses location awareness to provide more useful information. And it does all this with just a simple NFC tag, embedded or attached to the clothing at the point of manufacture. The tag uses its unique digital profile to connect the physical item to the cloud, and leverages its online dataset to extend actions.
Real-World Examples in Fashion & Accessories
Brand owners in the fashion & accessories segment have been quick to adopt NFC as a way to engage with consumers and protect their reputations. The list below, presented alphabetically by company name, gives an idea of how brands are putting NFC to work.
NXP leading the way
Many of today’s innovative use cases are made possible by NTAG®, NXP’s advanced portfolio of smart NFC tags. NXP co-invented NFC and is the leading supplier of semiconductor solutions for digital ID applications.
When it comes to using NFC for advanced brand protection and enhancement, brand owners can now rely on the NTAG 413 DNA to deliver an extra level of security. NTAG DNA offers AES cryptography and a new SUN feature, which generates a unique authentication code each time the tag is tapped. The result is more advanced product protection against counterfeiting, and secured, exclusive user experiences that increase customer satisfaction. Consumers simply tap the tag to automatically connect to a trusted web service to verify the secure code. There’s no need for an onboard app. The added security of NTAG DNA also helps brand owners who want to reward consumers who own a product, as part of a promotional campaign or a loyalty program, while blocking any fraudulent attempts to copy, share, or manipulate the URLs associated with reward offers.
Just the beginning
As NFC continues to gain momentum in the consumer sector, it will drive new value for brand owners, with incremental revenue and increased brand loyalty. NFC will also bring more engaging experiences to consumers, with new access to brand content, offers, digital services, and personalized value-adds.
At the same time, NXP will continue to provide the enabling technologies – like the new NTAG 413 DNA – that make NFC-enabled fashion and accessories such a powerful trend in retail.
The fashion & accessories segment is just one of the many retails industries benefitting from NFC. We’ll cover other verticals, including wine and spirits, in upcoming blogs