According to IHS, worldwide shipment of mobile phones with Near Field Communication (NFC) features is expected to be around 214 Million by 2014. Another technology that has already caught on is augmented reality (AR). Many of us are already using AR applications like Layar (that come per-loaded with smartphones) for locating restaurants and other places of interest. Some of the retailers like Disney and Lego are already rolling out AR apps for their products.
There are interesting possibilities for putting into use technologies like NFC and AR in the retail space. Here are some use cases:
- Customers can point their phone at a product in the shelf to learn about the ingredients, new features, recipes, and other product related multimedia content or even listen or watch product reviews from third-party sites. This can be implemented by using NPC as well as AR.
- Retail brands can implement Gamification of loyalty management. An NFC enabled phone could prompt the customer to take offline or online action (such as buy specific quantities, or like the Product’s Facebook page) in return for special access, discounts, or rewards.
- NFC also enables secure payment using tools such as Google Wallet. This ties neatly with tracking purchase actions.
- Employees can use AR apps in store-provided tablets to learn more about the product and understand how the product meets specific customer needs. This will be a great tool to answer questions customers may have on the shop floor.
- AR when integrated with the phone’s location data could be used to provide directions to the store, check for product availability, showcase sale information, and even provide an interactive floor-plan – all without stepping into the store.