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The Impact of NFC Technology on Retail Merchandising

Guest Blog By Douglas Lusted

The Pew Research Center recently announced that 56 percent of all adult Americans have a smartphone, which is up from only 35 percent two years ago. In turn, advertising has received a major renovation with the growth of smartphone usage and the supporting technology surrounding mobile devices. With a smartphone in more than half of their customers’ hands, marketers are looking for the best way to attract buyers through convenient channels. But analytics supporting this high tech marketing strategy have gone untapped. Can measurement capabilities be harnessed to bring in store marketers the same kinds of analytics found in digital or online marketing?

The answer is yes! Already accessible on a number of popular smartphones, Near Field Communication (NFC) technology provides a way for customers to directly connect and interact with a brand or retail store. Once activated, the user’s smartphone allows for direct engagement with an in or out of store advertisement. Using NFC technology, marketers can see how many people came close to an advertisement, how many customers stopped in front of it, how many interacted with it and how many of those interactions converted into sales. Products enabled with this new technology, such as Linkett provide full backend support to show analytics and conversion rates. Marketers will know which ads are the most effective and can collect the data that is most important to them in real-time. With motion activated in-store advertisements, a customized shopping experience is provided to the customer while immediate feedback on that shopper is provided to the brand or store.

For example, imagine walking into a store and passing a television offering 50 percent off of today’s purchase. To receive the discount, you tap your mobile phone to the screen and opt in to the store’s email list. You now have the coupon on your phone available for immediate use. You tap again and you instantly have the brand’s loyalty app. Three weeks later, you walk into the same store and the television offers you another discount for an item you previously purchased. You tap the screen again and receive the new offer.

Not only does Linkett harness NFC technology to give average televisions mobile and motion capabilities to make all content interactive and convenient for consumers while providing key analytics to promoters, but it also allows marketers to improve ads based on collected data.

NFC is also a secure way to accept payment transactions through mobile devices and loyalty and credit cards. NFC allows for a safe and secure connection because the transfer of data happens so fast and close together. NFC respects privacy settings and will never grab data from a customer’s phone or communicate with the device unless the device is tapped. Once tapped, there is always an option to opt out.

Having a customized in-store marketing experience in place for the customer can make a difference in direct sales. A customer may not think about going into a store, but when a screen literally talks to them as they walk through the mall and offers them a coupon, they may stop by. Even then, they could come in without intending to buy anything, but if an advertisement offers an instant coupon, they may change their mind. Until now, consumers are not viewing an advertised offer while in the store, but typically only before or after they shop. NFC technology guides them to a purchase during their physical shopping experience.

With Linkett, one person can control thousands of displays from one laptop and never have to visit the displays to update. Ads can be seen in real-time to see which are performing the best so only the most efficient campaigns are displayed at all times. Marketers can install Linkett, understand collected data and customize advertisements using a cloud-based platform. NFC technology is a development that streamlines marketing strategy and completely changes the relationship a marketer can achieve with a consumer.

Douglas Lusted is CEO and co-founder of Weston Expressions

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