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Advantages of NFC in Retail Stores

Did you know that retailers can use NFC to thrive in the digital world? Here are the advantages of NFC in retail stores.

For retailers nowadays, staying ahead of the competition requires embracing the latest technological advancements. This includes NFC technology. Modernization has brought about this new form of wireless technology in various fields and industries, from hospitality to healthcare to marketing. Retailers, in particular, can use this technology to transform their environment and thrive in the digital world. 

What is NFC in retail?

NFC, or near-field communication, is a short-range wireless technology that enables devices or endpoints to communicate with each other when they are within close proximity, typically within a few centimeters. With NFC capabilities, devices can transfer data, act as identity verification, pair with Bluetooth-enabled phones or other devices, and more. It’s similar to other wireless technologies such as RFID (radio frequency identification) or Bluetooth communications.


This has become a popular technology or capability in most smartphones nowadays, as well as other mobile devices and gadgets like tablets, speakers, and even gaming consoles. NFC tapping brings a lot of applications and benefits to numerous fields and businesses, including the retail industry.


When it comes to NFC in retail, this technology is used to facilitate various types of interactions between customers and retailers through short-range wireless communication. Here are some key applications of NFC in retail:


  • Contactless Payments: Customers can make secure payments by tapping their NFC-enabled devices (like smartphones or contactless credit/debit cards) on an NFC-enabled payment terminal. For example, digital shelf labels such as SOLUM ESL have NFC capabilities that allow customers to perform mobile payments at self-checkouts.
  • Product Information: Retailers can embed NFC tags in products or shelves. When customers tap these tags with their NFC-enabled devices, they can access detailed product information, reviews, or promotional offers. SOLUM ESL labels, apart from contactless payments, can also be used for information awareness. This is because they can be used to link to a retailer’s online website and download digital coupons.
  • Loyalty Programs: Customers can use NFC tapping to earn and redeem loyalty points, receive personalized offers, or access membership information.
  • Inventory Management: Retail staff can use NFC-enabled devices to quickly check inventory levels, update stock information, and manage orders.
  • In-Store Navigation: NFC can be used to guide customers through a store, helping them find specific products or sections. Tapping NFC tags or labels placed strategically throughout the store can provide directions or product locations.
  • Marketing and Promotions: Retailers can use NFC for targeted marketing campaigns. Customers can tap NFC tags on promotional displays to receive discounts, participate in contests, or access special content.
  • Customer Engagement: NFC can enhance customer engagement through interactive experiences. For example, customers can tap their devices on NFC tags to participate in surveys, provide feedback, or engage with social media content.

What are the advantages of NFC?

NFC in retail offers several advantages across various applications, particularly in payments and information sharing. Here are the key advantages for retail stores:


  1. Convenience - NFC allows for fast and easy transactions, significantly reducing checkout times in retail settings. Simply tapping or waving an NFC-enabled device is all that's needed to initiate an action, making it user-friendly for young consumers and older consumers.
  2. Security - Secure payments and encrypted communications are crucial advantages of NFC. NFC technology is often used in conjunction with secure elements like SIM cards, secure elements in mobile devices, or cloud-based secure elements to protect sensitive information. Data exchanged via NFC is typically encrypted, enhancing security during retail transactions.
  3. Versatility - NFC has a wide range of applications for retail. It can be used for payments, access control, information sharing, loyalty programs, product marketing, and more. NFC technology is also compatible with existing contactless infrastructure. This includes contactless payment terminals and transit systems in retail stores.
  4. Interactivity - In retail, NFC can also contribute to engagement and a better customer experience. It can provide customers with instant access to product information, reviews, and special offers. NFC can also be used for interactive marketing campaigns, which allow customers to engage with brands in innovative ways.
  5. Efficiency - Of course, NFC also streamlines retail operations. In inventory management, NFC can simplify the tracking and updating of stock levels. This technology can also automate various processes, such as loyalty point accumulation and redemption, reducing the need for manual input. This improves efficiency and accuracy altogether.
  6. Low Energy Consumption and Efficiency - While NFC is based on RFID technology, it operates at very low power and low transmission range. This makes it suitable for use in battery-powered devices without having a significant impact on battery life.
  7. Localized Interaction - The short range of NFC (typically a few centimeters) ensures that interactions are intentional and localized, reducing the risk of accidental or unauthorized communication.
  8. Contactless Interaction - Especially relevant in the context of health concerns, NFC enables contactless interactions, reducing physical contact and the spread of germs. For individuals with disabilities, NFC can also offer a more accessible way to interact with devices and services.


These advantages of NFC make it a valuable technology in various sectors, particularly retail. This drives growth and convenience when it comes to the retail experience.

What are the advantages of contactless payment?

Contactless interaction, specifically contactless payments, is one of the most significant impacts of NFC in retail in recent years. This is partly due to the pandemic and the need to prioritize health and safety. This is also due to modernization and the consumer’s growing need for efficiency. In a report by CNBC in 2023, more than half (51%) of Americans are using some form of contactless payment. This includes mobile wallets and tap-to-go credit cards.


This makes NFC in retail stores even more important. Retail stores can leverage this kind of technology to grow and move forward for modern consumers.


Take a look at some of the main advantages of contactless payments for customers and retailers:


For customers

  1. Speed and convenience - Transactions are faster compared to traditional methods like cash or chip-and-PIN. A simple tap or wave of a card or mobile device completes the payment. There is also no need to enter a PIN or sign receipts for small transactions. NFC will also lead to faster transactions and shorter waiting times in lines, which improves the overall shopping experience.
  2. Safety and security - With NFC, data is encrypted, making it difficult for fraudsters to intercept and misuse information. It also minimizes physical contact and the need to touch payment terminals, reducing the risk of germ transmission. Of course, many contactless payments use tokenization, which replaces card details with a unique identifier, further enhancing security.
  3. Enhanced experience - Integration with mobile apps will be a big factor in consumer preference. The ability to integrate with digital wallets, loyalty programs, and banking apps will create a seamless experience for customers. This will also provide more options for where customers can shop.


For retailers

  1. Increased efficiency - Faster processing of payments reduces wait times at checkout, allowing retailers to serve more customers quickly. There is also less need for managing cash, which can reduce errors and the risk of theft.
  2. Customer satisfaction and loyalty - Quick and convenient payment methods improve overall customer satisfaction and can lead to repeat business. Reduced physical contact at checkout can make customers feel safer, especially in a world coping with the pandemic.
  3. Increased sales opportunities - Quick and easy payments can encourage more impulse buying. Accepting a wider range of payment methods can attract more customers, including tech-savvy consumers, younger consumers who prefer digital payments, and even shopping tourists who are visiting new places specifically to shop.
  4. Significant cost savings - Reduced need for handling and securing cash can lower operational costs. Enhanced security features of contactless payments can also lead to fewer fraudulent transactions and chargebacks.
  5. Competitive advantage - Of course, a modern image is also one of the advantages of NFC contactless payments. Offering the latest payment technology can help retailers appear modern and tech-savvy, appealing to a broader and more modern demographic.


The advantages of NFC create countless opportunities for retail stores. Whatever angle you look at, it paves the way for a win-win situation for both customers and retailers, fostering a more efficient, secure, and enjoyable shopping experience.


Leverage NFC tapping in your store now! Talk to SOLUM experts today and find out how SOLUM digital shelf labels can bring the advantages of NFC and more to your store.


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