How Should Your Business Be Using NFC Chip Technology?

Sophie Hardbattle By Sophie Hardbattle

You’ll have heard a lot about NFC chips recently, especially after the launch of Apple Pay in October. For those of you who are still unaware of what they actually are; NFC is short for ‘Near Field Communication’. The chips allow the exchanging of data by emitting a short-range radio transmission. To put it simply; it’s kinda like bluetooth.

Many are aware of the use of NFC technology in mobile payments; both Apple Pay and Google Wallet work on the smartphones that have these capabilities. But how many of you are aware of the other possibilities that come from using this fairly new technology? Well, if you’re not; you soon will be…

The Different Roles of NFC

In its simplest form, NFC technology works in three different ways; reader/writer mode, initiator and target and card emulation.

The reader/writer mode enables the launch of smart tasks, when NFC enabled devices read NFC tags. Card emulation is the mode typically used in a payment transaction. The initiator and target method is often described as device-to-device (or peer-to-peer), where information can be sent between devices.

Increased Engagement in Advertising

NFC chips can be used in ‘NFC tags’, to offer an innovative method of advertising. A customer can tap their phone over the tag, like on a poster or advert, and they will be presented with information or a feature relating to that tag.

Ralph Lauren have recently used this advertising method to promote a new collection in Harrods. They placed adverts with NFC and QR code stickers, on the stores windows. When the customer taps their phone against the NFC tag, or scans the QR code, they are offered an interactive map that guides them to the related area of Harrods.

NFC for Ticketing

This is a really effective way to interact with customers and stand out from your competitors. You can get creative when thinking about what you can offer your customers to really engage with them.

It’s Time to Share

You can use the initiator and target method to enable the easy use of devices, such as printers.

Because of NFC enabled smartphones, your customers can also communicate with other NFC enabled devices, like tablets, so you could easily share files or information, for example; videos, images or even coupons.

Customers could easily ‘check-in’ to your establishment by scanning an NFC tag and then post the information onto their various social media platforms. Voila! Free advertising! Kind of. Foursquare, the popular check-in app, is now supporting NFC check-ins and sharing.

New Ways of Ticketing

NFC can be used for ticketing, this is already popular for those travelling in Japan.

The customers NFC enabled phone could pay for tickets, and then recieve the ticket in their passbook. It can also be used for other outlets that require ticketing, such as cinemas, stage shows or theme parks etc.

NFC Technology

Better Loyalty Schemes

NFC touch points can be used in settings such as coffee shops or cafes, to implement a paperless loyalty scheme. This could be through NFC tags; you could tap the customers phone against a tag after every transaction and the customer would receive points or coupons on a loyalty app, which could add up so they eventually earn a free drink.


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