RFID and NFC are highly versatile technologies which have been used across the business spectrum to help with supply chain management, asset tracking, access control, and various other applications. Today, because of the decreasing costs of NFC and RFID tags and the wider availability of compatible smartphones, we’re starting to see them being employed for a surprising range of marketing purposes. Here are some of the more creative ones.
1- NFC magazine ads
We’ve all seen those magazine ads where perfume and face cream samples have been stuck to the page so users can peel them off and try them. Now it’s possible to attach self-adhesive NFC tags to magazine pages in the same way. When readers come across one of these tags, all they have to do is place their phone against it and the tag will open a web page on their browser. In many cases, the user is shown a video, providing a more exciting and engaging way of finding out about a product than simply seeing a photo in a magazine.
In this sense, magazine adverts are becoming link bait, helping marketers strike while the iron is hot whilst satiating the readers need for instant gratification.
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2- RFID social sharing
RFID tags can be programmed to interact with social media on several levels. They can be used to check-in, share posts and even help different users befriend each other on Facebook. RFID wristbands, such as those available from Universal Smart Cards, which are often used as tickets at events, can now be programmed to let a user check-in to their social media account automatically as they enter the venue.
At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Agency Africa came up with the unusual ‘Buddy Cup’ concept for social media sharing at some of the Budweiser sponsored events. Essentially, the Buddy Cup was a drinking glass which used both the QR code and RFID technologies to help strangers make friends with each other on Facebook. The QR code linked the Buddy Cup to a user’s Facebook profile, and when glasses were clinked together, the RFID chips instantly added the two individuals as friends.
3- Event initiation
RFID chips can be programmed to control other devices, and this is beginning to be used by companies for some highly creative marketing purposes. Drinks providers, for example, have used specially developed bottle caps which, when opened, activate a signal which sets off various other events in the room, such as music being played and the flashing of disco lights. Of course, for a customer to trigger such an event themselves, they’d have to purchase the particular brand of drink that used the RFID bottle tops.
4- Marketing focused shopping carts
Thanks to RFID, supermarkets are now able to supercharge the marketing of products like fries, ketchup, and mayo, that are created to complement or be served alongside other foods. This is done by fitting out shopping carts with RFID enabled screens which interact with tags on product shelves. The idea is that when customers travel down an aisle, they are presented with dish suggestions and recipes which include the products the supermarkets want to promote. Not only is it a great way for supermarkets to push particular products, it’s also engaging for customers who may be looking for inspirational ideas to improve their diets or serve up a wider range of dishes at home.
5- Bus stop and sidewalk advertising
Just as NFC tags can be attached to magazine pages, they can also be embedded into advertising posters. If someone passing a bus stop sees an advertisement for a theater production, tapping their phone on the poster’s tag can send them directly to the online ticket office. This way, they can book tickets there and then. This application of NFC isn’t limited to ticket sales. They can be used to show videos, download apps, enter competitions, book services, read specifications, and all kinds of other engaging activities.
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6- Hi-tech fashion retail
RFID technology is making big waves with in-store retail marketing. By attaching RFID tags to individual items and putting readers and computer screens in the fitting rooms, shoppers are able to discover much more about the product they are trying on.
Once the reader identifies the tag on a piece of clothing, it can open up more marketing ideas on the screen, showing the customer matching items that they may want to buy alongside the ones they are trying, displaying alternative products, and offering them incentives for making additional purchases. With the advance of augmented reality technology, RFID tags could be used to show customers what these matching items might look like when they are worn, increasing the likelihood that they’ll be tried on and sold.
RFID and NFC are becoming increasingly useful as marketing tools. Their ability to be read by smartphones and in-store readers means they can be put to use almost anywhere, and their capacity to activate other technologies or connect customers to the internet, social media platforms and in-house systems means the number of applications for which they can be used is limitless.