THE BOOZE BIN
By Pia Mara Finkell (@piamara)
While not nearly a new concept, NFC, or Near Field Communications has topped analysts’ lists as the next big thing in mobile commerce…for several years running. 2011 seems to be the year this prediction will come to fruition. As defined by Mashable, “NFC allows a device, usually a mobile phone, to collect data from another device or NFC tag at close range. In many ways, it’s like a contactless payment card that is integrated into a phone.” While not yet established in American mobile phones, rumors of the launch of several mainstream NFC-enabled phones on the US market have begun to fly.
Most notably, Piper Jaffray‘s lead technology and Apple analyst, Gene Munster just forecasted the arrival of NFC technology in the US, namely through Apple’s fifth generation iPhone with Verizon at the end of the 1st quarter of 2011. “We are modeling for Apple to launch a CDMA version of the iPhone at Verizon in the March-11 quarter. The fifth generation iPhone will likely ship this summer with NFC capability,” Munster writes.
For consumers, this is major news, but for retailers and marketers, this marks a major opportunity to take advantage of NFC technology at the point of purchase to educate consumers and drive sales. While QR codes provide the consumer with valuable product information, for example tasting notes and reviews on a bottle of Rioja at their local wine shop, NFC enabled phones create a “digital wallet” for contactless payment with products marked with NFC tags. Not only will the consumer be able to learn about wines by tapping their mobile phone near the tagged bottle (or sign, advertisement, etc.), but they will now be able to easily purchase the product in the same tap, through preloaded digital account information securely contained in the device.
Stay tuned for these upcoming developments to learn how to best capitalize on NFC technology in your overall brand strategy as consumers’ seemingly insatiable social and mobile hunger continues to grow in 2011.