A recent study, conducted by the international research firm Ipsos, polled more than 16,000 people in 20 countries and uncovered some interesting things about how we, as consumers, make our purchasing decisions. It turns out that the things we traditionally associate with a particular brand, such as style, quality, and reputation, still matter, but what matters even more is how we think and feel when we interact with a brand.
The opinions we form at key points – when we ask for information, verify authenticity, make a purchase, request a service, or actually use the product – determine whether or not we’ll continue our relationship with a given brand. Add to this the fact that we now have the ability to share our brand perceptions with everyone else, through social media, and each consumer is more than just one person buying a product: they’re a reviewer and critic, with the ability to influence others.
The results of the Ipsos study underscore how important it is for brand marketers to create positive, engaging consumer experiences that turn shoppers into buyers and loyal brand ambassadors. Since the average consumer spends more and more time engaging with their smartphone, it makes sense to use the smartphone as the entry point for these experiences. And now, with more smartphones offering Near Field Communication (NFC) as a standard feature, companies can start using NFC to deliver better brand interactions at every point, whether it’s before, at, or after the purchase. Here’s a sample scenario, to show how this can work:
The physical product – a dress, a bottle of wine, whatever – has an NFC tag on it. Each tag carries a unique identifier, giving the product its own digital identity. Any and all information relating to the product can then be tied to the unique identifier.
The consumer taps the tag with a smartphone to initiate an action. The action can vary depending on the need: get information, find offers and promotions, read reviews on social media, verify product authenticity, register a purchase, receive customer rewards, view warranties, and so on.
The smartphone’s browser hits a cloud-based platform that tells the phone where to go, based on the tag’s unique identifier. At the same time, information about the NFC interaction is captured by the cloud’s intelligent service. Depending on the configuration, the cloud platform can log details of the interaction, such as the location, time/date, user type, and unique phone ID. Also, depending on what the consumer decides to share, personal data, such as profiles or interests, can get captured and logged.
Stay tuned for part 2, giving examples and reasons for using NFC tags.