NFC (near field communication) chips have become the new buzzword for marketers across the world. With NFC chips, marketers feel that they can easily deliver product/marketing content to their target audience, and thereby give a big boost to their respective businesses.
What are NFC chips?
NFC chips pave the way for an easy wireless connection between a mobile device and an NFC tag. Although NFC chips are not something very new - their emergence dates back to 1980s - they have become very popular in the past few years as marketers see them as a brilliant way to deliver content from one device to another.
The word “near” in near field communication signifies proximity since NFC chips-enabled smartphones can communicate with NFC tags only when they are 4 cms or less close to each other. Such a proximity ensures high security and privacy.
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“NFC technology essentially converts smartphones into loyalty cards, single-tap location ‘check in’ devices, concert tickets, coupon carriers, contactless payment devices, transit tickets, and secure keys to access cars, hotel rooms, buildings, and computers—the possibilities are endless”, says Ruediger Stroh, executive vice president and general manager, Identification Business, NXP Semiconductors.
Imagine the fun of shopping without having to face the hassles of carrying and handling your credit card. Moreover, you are relaxed all the way through since there is no danger of credit card theft. NFC technology revolutionizes the way we pay for items we buy - simply take your phone close to an NFC enabled kiosk and pay at one go for all your purchases. Sounds exciting, isn’t it? Google Wallet has already made it possible for users to store their credit cards, gift cards and coupons in their smartphones and make a purchase. Android Beam is another example of how people share photos, videos and other data via NFC.
While the NFC technology is rising to popularity among both marketers and buyers, QR (Quick Response) codes have begun to decline after a long-time popularity.
What are QR codes?
QR codes are like bar codes and a user has to scan it with the help of their smartphones. For analyzing a QR code, a user has to download a scanning app in their smartphone to analyze the information written in the square shaped bar codes.
You must have seen QR codes on poster advertisements, newspaper ads, business cards, utility bills etc. QR codes are very popular in Japan. The US has also witnessed a skyrocketing rise in the use of QR codes in the past few years. However, many tech giants, including, Google says that NFC chips will replace QR codes as advertisement vehicles in near future.
There are several benefits of NFC chips over QR codes:
NFC chips are flexible. No need to create a new NFC tag to store different types of information and cause changes into it.
Changes can’t be made to an existing QR code.
NFC offers faster, easier and more secure transactions. A user only needs to wave their smartphone near the NFC tag area to let the information transfer instantly.
QR codes are not as fast as NFC is since a user first needs to open a scanner app in their smartphone, hover over the code and wait till the time the smartphone analyzes it and reacts to the code.
The feeling of use is natural. Touch is a natural action.
There is no natural feel since a user needs to open a scanning app to perform the action of reading a QR code.
NFC technology allows a two-way communication, thus could be used for a wide range of applications, such as mobile payments, secure access control and pairing electronic devices.
QR codes have no concept of two way communication.
NFC tags can be hidden behind printed media or within products.
QR codes are visible and not much could be done to maintain their performance via customization.
NFC tags offer high security since they have a fixed manufacturer ID number. Moreover, encryption is supported by special tags to hide the programmed data.
QR codes are not at all secured.
The only disadvantage of NFC technology compared to QR codes is that NFC chips are expensive and cost £0.20 ($0.30) each for an order of 1,000 tags. However, many tech companies are investing in research and development of NFC technology to bring down the price of NFC chips by a big extent in future. That it may happen, NFC technology opens gates for digital marketers to use it as the preferred embedded digital advertisement tool as more and more people buy NFC-enabled smartphones. According to a report, there will be 1.2 billion NFC handsets world over by 2018.
Image source: www.mobilecommercedaily.com
The time is not too far when an NFC tag within a poster of the latest movie in a cinema hall will let you get all the details of the movie with the help of your NFC-enabled smartphone, including online trailers, pictures and special interviews.
With NFC chips, marketers can make it possible for their target audience to access online content with utmost ease. Marketers can use proximity marketing to their advantage by sending messages to any smartphone within the range of a particular product. They can develop analytics based on the reaction of customers to those messages and target the ones who appeared interested.
If you have ever availed NFC services and have some additional inputs to describe how they can help marketers to grow their business, please share them in the comment box below.