With the launch of iOS 11, Apple have introduced NFC capabilities to a much wider audience of smartphone users, enabling businesses to interact with and market to their customers in far more creative and engaging ways.
For those who are not familiar with NFC (Near Field Communications), it’s a technology that allows contactless communication between an NFC enabled device, such as a smartphone, and an NFC chip. These chips can be embedded into a range of promotional products such as posters, stickers, keyrings and smart cards, giving customers access to customised rich media, targeted offers and payment gateways through their smartphones.
Why is NFC a clever way to do marketing?
Much of the advertising that takes place over the internet goes unnoticed. Users get bombarded with online ads all the time: when searching, using social media, visiting websites and when using apps. Our brains have learned to ignore them so that even ads people might be interested in get passed by. This means that click-through rates for PPC advertising are generally poor.
With NFC technology, the decision to connect is often left to the discretion of the user. This way you know that when they connect they are genuinely interested. At the same time, NFC enables businesses to send information which is directly targeted at the customers, making it much more likely that they will respond to any calls to action.
How can businesses use NFC to market their products?
What makes NFC very appealing is the wide range of uses it can be put to. Below, you can see some practical examples of how businesses can use this technology to enhance campaigns and extend their reach.
Take your print media to a new level
Imagine you are a car retailer promoting the latest model of a car. With an NFC enabled poster, any interested customer simply has to touch the poster with their phone and they can instantly watch a video about the car, download the brochure or even book a test drive. You can’t do that with a normal poster.
This technology can also be added to leaflets, brochures, catalogues and other printed media using inexpensive, adhesive smart tags. The NFC chip inside the tag enables you to send customers to your website, see maps, read blog posts, enter competitions and more.
Turn your packaging a promotion
Using NFC tags on your packaging is another great way to market your goods. If you sell consumables, for example, you can place a smart tag on the product or packaging so that once it runs out, reordering becomes simple and easy for the consumer.
You can also use packaging for upselling and cross-selling purposes. If you’ve sold a specific type of dress, an NFC tag could send the customer to a blog post with ideas for what to wear with it. From here, they could buy the accessories and shoes needed to create their perfect outfit.
Make a noise on social media
NFC can help you make a big splash on social media. If you run an event and send tickets electronically, it is possible that when attendees arrive you get them to confirm their attendance by tapping their smartphone on a scanner. When this happens, NFC can be used to send a Check-In status on their Facebook profile. This way, you can market your event or venue to all their friends and followers.
It is also possible to use NFC technology on point of sale material. If a customer is walking around the local supermarket and sees a discount offer for a product they are interested in, the electronic voucher can be sent straight to their phone so they can redeem it at the checkout. This can also be a great way to upsell: ‘Buy a jar of coffee, get a free drink in our café’. You can guarantee they’ll buy a cake at the same time.
Extend your email list
When sending out promotional materials with the addition of NFC, you can always ask for the customer’s email address as part of the process. You can then add them to your email marketing list as well.
Take your business cards into the 21st Century
Gone are the days when you were limited to just putting your contact details on your business cards. NFC enabled cards, such as those developed by Universal Smart Cards, will let you send your customers directly to your website. You can even create a landing page directly for your business card visitors. Even better, if you have a sales team, each team member can send their clients directly to their own contact page.
Loyalty cards can also be NFC enabled. With one tap, a customer can use their phone to check their points tally and redeem points in store or online. You can also use this to send promotions and attract customers to products you think they may be interested in.
Keyrings with a difference
At one time, the only purpose of a promotional keyring was to remind the customer of your logo and contact details in the hope that it would bring them to you when they wanted to make a purchase. With NFC technology, you can now use that keyring to give them access to a much wider range of valuable information. You can send them to your website, let them watch your how-to videos, give them access to VIP resources and offer discounts.
NFC technology has been around for some time and whilst it is readily available on most Android devices, it’s only from iPhone 7 onwards that Apple has got on board. With the release of iOS 11, it looks like this capability is going to make the technology available to a much wider audience and, as a result, vastly expand NFC’s potential for marketing.