How NFC Tags can Revolutionize the Retail Experience

At their simplest, NFC tags can help bring brands and consumers closer together, streamline the retail experience and help collect customer insights

There’s been a lot of debate in the last couple of years about whether or not NFC will catch on with people. The tech-savvy crowd has been familiar with NFC for a long time, but marketers have in general been a little wary of adapting this new technology, whether it is in NFC posters, NFC labels or NFC tags. Perhaps one big reason for this is that until recently, Apple, one of the biggest smart phone brands, had seemed wary of adopting NFC for its own devices, and consumer awareness of the technology was low. However, with its recent patent for an NFC-based cross-platform data transfer solution, it seems like the technology giant is slowly accepting that NFC has a firm place in the future of technology. This also means that now more and more people will be curious about the potential of NFC technology in all fields, from retail to research and education.

So how does this affect the retail experience? Already a number of smart phones have NFC capabilities; there’s also a growing awareness of now NFC can help to create a frictionless payment process. It’s only a matter of time before NFC becomes one of the main tools for bridging the real world with the digital.

This is good news for brands who are looking for new ways in which they can connect with their customers. There are, in fact, a number of ways of doing so, especially when it comes to the in-store experience:

Streamlining Customer-Brand Interaction

This is something that Hointer, a Seattle-based retailer, is already doing very well. One way in which they use NFC tags is to allow customers to select an item and have it drop directly, through a chute, into a changing room. The item will be in the right size and color, as picked by the customer. This eliminates the need for interaction with retail staff, who might take more time to locate the required piece.

Sharing Recommendations and Reviews

NFC tags can also be used by brands to share product-specific information, such as user-generated reviews and recommendations. For example, by scanning an NFC tag on a pair of jeans, a customer could get access to reviews of that particular style from other customers. They could also check style recommendations for the jeans, through text, video or images.

Collecting Customer Feedback

With NFC tags, customers don’t need to fill in long feedback forms; by simply tapping the NFC tag on a purchased item, a customer will be able to register it with the brand. This will give brands access to more personalized insights; for examples, a brand will be able to tell what the buying patterns and preferences of a particular customer are.


NFC tags