The use of e-commerce in the retail industry allows merchants to keep track of their customer’s journey through the sales funnel in real time, from discovery to after-sales and is a great way to provide a connection with your customers. However, once they go in a store, a large part of that opportunity is lost due to a lack of connection.
NFC can help customers and retailers connect
David Sutija, the CEO of packaging company Thinfilm, spoke about the challenges faced by brands in today’s digital shopping landscape. He also explained how near field communication (NFC) technology could help retailers connect with their in-store customers on the same level as they can with e-commerce customers.
Mass marketing is a dying medium
There is currently a lot of competition in retail stores for space, which equates to the online competition of the various e-commerce businesses from what is known in the industry as “disruptors”. These are the small companies that come up with cool new ideas and market them through social media outlets, such as Facebook. The era of brand power through the traditional methods of mass marketing is dying, and brands need to find a better way to connect with their loyal customers on a level that is better suited to the digital age. Targeted messages that are customer-centric is the way forward in the millennial age of the consumer market, in order to maintain their brand’s value in the minds of their customers.
Brands are being swallowed by platforms
One of the biggest challenges is competing with players such as Amazon, who deliver directly to the door. While many people may see Amazon as a brand in itself, it is rarely seen as them buying a brand from Amazon, which means brands may not be part of the equation in the future. Another challenge is the aspect of extra space in a physical store. It is hard to find space for new lines, and even harder to get feedback from customers on the lines they like most. Retailers need to know if customers like the product and if they will buy it again in the future, and this is where platforms such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google have the upper hand. They already know what the consumer wants, irrelevant to the brands or retailers themselves.
Smart packaging improves omnichannel communication
The use of Smart Packaging with built-in NFC technology allows the retailers to communicate with their customers on a whole new level. Using the whole omnichannel concept, product labels with NFC allows a brand to connect with its customers at home and whenever they use the product they purchased. Customer connection at the time of use or consumption will make the omnichannel strategies more efficient. When the customer taps the label with their smartphone, they unlock information that can help them in their decisions with the brand, and allows the brand to better communicate with the customer, creating a better relationship and being able to ask for feedback. Each time they tap the label, they get a different experience, and brands can create entire campaigns with multiple chapters, based on the NFC information sent and received. It can also allow customers to join the brand’s loyalty program.
NFC labels are useful for engagement
The use of NFC packaging is also more useful than the in-store beacons that broadcast to all NFC devices that come within range – i.e. within the store. Mostly, people consider those messages as spam, but with the NFC packaging mechanism, consumers do not feel as if they have been spammed, as they “asked” for more information by tapping the label. While beacons may be useful for making offers to new customers in the store, the NFC labels require the customer to pull the information out, allowing them to decide when to respond to a certain call to action or learn a little more about the brand they are engaging with. NFC labels can be very beneficial when you need to engage with consumers who already have a genuine interest in your products.