You may have seen our post last year on Apple snubbing NFC (near field communications) technology in its iPhone 5. This year, reports suggest that Apple is including NFC capabilities in its new iPhone design. This further fuels the speculation it will add payments to its Passbook allowing customers to pay, receive offers and collect loyalty points through their mobile device.
The Integrated Retailer recently published an article suggesting NFC-enabled mobile devices will exceed 500 million by the end of next year. It seems the retail industry and its ancillary services are looking at NFC as a serious game changer in customer interactions, from point of sale, up and cross selling, providing customer offers and collecting insightful customer data.
We recently announced our partnership with Proxama to provide in-store coupons and vouchers via NFC-enabled posters that consumers can tap their phone to and redeem at the checkout. The partnership also allows us to create NFC enabled retailer apps that send offers directly to customer devices that are in range and have the store’s app installed. These services can be integrated into a mobile wallet to provide a holistic approach to customer interactions through one device.
The challenge for retailers now is to break down the risk perception consumers have towards NFC technology and using mobile wallets. However, we can see that this is the case throughout history, the most recent being chip and PIN services replacing signatures in payment card transactions, or online banking. People may think it is less secure or more risky than the legacy method, but once it is adopted these worries are forgotten.
The retail industry as a whole must now work to educate consumers about the simplicity of using NFC technology and mobile wallets to dispel any misconceptions customers may have on data security, privacy or ‘spamming’. By illustrating that a mobile wallet will be kept as safe as loyalty card data, online banking data and that offers will be tailored to the customer or be ‘opt-in’, we may alleviate some of these worries and drive NFC adoption amongst end users.