NFC smart packaging is set to transform the way products are marketed and shipped. By placing an NFC enabled tags on their packaging, businesses are opening the doors to improved services for their customers and better marketing opportunities for themselves. In this article, we’ll take a look at the impact NFC is having on packaging solutions.
What is NFC?
NFC (near field communication) is a technology that transmits data, using radio waves, between a tag and a reader. A tag is a small chip that can be embedded into sticky labels or attached to packages or products and the information stored on it can be accessed, over short distances, by a reader. One of the main benefits for businesses is that most mobile phones have built-in NFC readers, enabling consumers to receive information just by tapping their phones on the tag.
Smart packaging is the new POS
Manufacturers can embed NFC tags in product packaging and retailers can attach NFC sticky labels, such as those available from Universal Smart Cards, to them on the shelf. The benefit of this is that customers who are interested in a product can tap their phone on the tag or label to find out more information about it. They can be sent specifications, product reviews, watch videos and even book a demonstration. In a pharmacy, for example, a customer considering purchasing a type of medicine could use the tag to find out about potential side effects or see if the product contained ingredients they were allergic to. At the same time, the store could use the tag to send them a three for two offer or a discount.
Cutting the costs of paper-based marketing
Businesses have been bundling marketing materials in their packaging for years. Virtually every time a consumer opens up a delivery parcel there’s a leaflet, brochure or discount voucher waiting inside. Whilst this obviously has benefits for the company, there are costs involved in using this type of marketing: materials need designing and printing, extra time is needed to put the materials in the packages and, in some cases, the weight of the printed materials may increase the actual shipping costs. Sadly, there is also an environmental impact as, at the end of the journey, all these materials are going to end up in the waste paper pile, whether used or not.
One of the benefits of using NFC smart packaging is that these paper-based marketing materials can be ditched in favour of more up-to-date, electronic marketing. Simply by tapping their smartphone on an NFC tag, the recipient’s phone can be sent to specially designed landing pages where they can access loyalty discounts, see products related to the one they have just received, find out about warranties or how to use their new product and any other kind of information the company wants them to see.
Improves brand image
In an age of omnichannel shopping, every business wants to be seen as bridging the gap between the physical and virtual retail worlds. It’s something consumers are asking for and those which can’t are seen as out of touch and out of date. Using NFC smart packaging is key to staying relevant, especially to the younger, IT natives, who want to see everything connected. With smart packaging, you can continue that connectivity even after the product has been shipped and this is a great way to keep customers engaged and retain their loyalty.
Provides powerful data insights
Products that are intelligently packaged can be tracked and this provides numerous benefits to the manufacturer and the retailer. For the manufacturer, products can be easily traced in the warehouse using inbuilt NFC readers, enabling them to have a clearer idea of inventory levels and to know when items have been dispatched.
NFC tags can be used for inventory by the retailer, too, giving them an indication of when stock levels are low and new orders need to be placed. At the same time, the data collected by the NFC readers gives an up-to-the-minute overview of product popularity, helping them know which products are worth restocking and which should be put on special promotion in order to ensure they don’t get left on the shelves.
User interaction can also be logged. If a user accesses the information on a tag and is sent to a website, their behaviour on that site can be monitored and the resulting data analysed to help the company have a better understanding of their customers. In this sense, NFC smart packaging provides the means for businesses to extend the ways they connect, capture and track business intelligence.
From warehouse to store to the front door, NFC enabled smart packaging is transforming the way companies do business. It enables better warehouse management, delivery tracking, innovative in-store POS marketing, intelligent aftersales and helps develop brand loyalty. At the same time, it delivers powerful data insights to drive businesses forward, makes brands relevant for today’s IT savvy millennials and cuts the costs of paper-based marketing. Now, that is smart packaging.