Just as consumers are getting the hang of those black and white squiggly squares known as QR codes, another marketing medium is showing equal promise. Near field communications (NFC) is a short-range wireless technology that enables contactless interactions between electronic devices such as NFC-enabled phones and RFID tags that can be embedded within displays.
NFC allows consumers to access digital content just as QR codes do, but in order to “read” a QR code, a consumer needs to scan it with their smart phone. With NFC, consumers simply hold their device up to the display and voila, a coupon or promotional content appears on-screen.
“NFC offers great opportunities for brands to communicate with consumers,” said Matt Espinoza, who vets marketing technologies for Clorox, Tropicana, Gatorade and other brands as head of creative technology for Dallas-based integrated marketing firm, TracyLocke.
The technology can also be used to facilitate wallet-less payments and communicate loyalty data at the point of sale. Given its convenience, Espinoza predicts NFC chips will become as ubiquitous as QR codes. But first more smart phone manufacturers need to introduce NFC-enabled phones.
Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S with Google and the Nexus S already support the technology and Apple is reportedly applying it to its yet-to-be released iPhone 5.