Apple, NFC, and Mobile Marketing
As some of you may have heard after Apple’s big event yesterday, Apple is going to launch a new payment program allowing people to use their phones to make payment at retailer establishments. The communication technology at the core of this is Near-Field Communication, or NFC. NFC is a set of standards for smartphones and other mobile devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity, usually no more than a few centimeters.
You may have already seen and maybe even used QR (quick response) codes that are 2D barcodes with data embedded, scanned and read by mobile devices. NFC is similar except there is no visual or camera element so it’s faster and more efficient. And it’s safer than Bluetooth which has a much longer range, though Bluetooth is safe and has many other uses for businesses and marketers.
While NFC and QR codes can be used for making payments, there are also many other uses in a brick-and-mortar business to communicate with customers. Just as QR codes can be used to send links to phones that then open a web page in a browser, or send a pre-composed text to a specific number, or send an entire contact info. card to a phone to save, NFC can do these things.
QR codes are cheaper, as they are free to create and are just printed anywhere; but NFC is not expensive to implement and can be as small and portable. For instance, we have been working on various applications and uses for NFC and have bought and programmed paper thin stickers with NFC chips, business cards, and thin small plastic chips. You can put NFC anywhere and program it to do many different things.
As we continue to become a more mobile-device oriented world, marketers need to be on the forefront of adoption and adaptation to prepare for changes in consumer behavior as well as be creative in new ways to market and communicate. NFC and QR codes are a great way to enhance the marketing and user experience in a physical location and there are dozens of creative opportunities. It is early though with many Android phones and iPhones that do not yet have NFC capabilities, but it’s not too early to begin to think of and experiment with mobile marketing and tech. And all smartphones can take advantage of QR codes when NFC is not present.
Another cutting-edge technology in newer mobile phones and the latest Apple iOS is Bluetooth Low Energy. This allows for communication with your customers’ phones that are in your store or nearby and haven’t yet committed on patronizing your establishment, but perhaps might be persuaded with a timely alert and promotional offer.
Lerentech is developing and experimenting with a number of new ideas involving QR, NFC and Bluetooth Low Energy that all offer ways to market more effectively and more timely with nearby customers. If you’re interested in a free consultation about how these technologies could help your business, please email or call us..