Apple’s big reveal of their latest incarnation of the iPhone last week brought along with it a fresh debate in the retail world about near field communications (NFC).
The decision not to include an NFC chip in the iPhone 5c or 5s is the final nail in the coffin for the long-awaited solution, from one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of smartphones.
While Apple may not be the great innovator it once was, it’s still aware of what the market wants and is a key player in the future direction of mobile. This decision means that apple doesn’t see NFC as a key part of the future of m-commerce and this is a belief we’ve held for a long time at 2ergo when looking at mobile marketing.
NFC billed itself on the ability to turn a smartphone into a mobile payment or loyalty redemption system, and the sell to retailers was that it was best way of interacting with customers, via mobile, in store.
In truth, NFC technology isn’t technology which was developed explicitly for this kind of transaction, it’s communication between two devices over short range, and is merely a specific type of wireless interaction.
Mobile payments are moving in a different direction to that originally predicted, because NFC hasn’t truly taken off. Developers looking to implement solutions are aware that adding this kind of technology requires great forethought as it has to be developed with future smartphones in mind.
However, as all smartphones are wifi enabled, the technology for interaction on mobile is actually available for retailers to harness now, and in the future – without the need for new development within smartphones.
Technologies like Podifi can be installed at till points and these connect with smartphone devices through wifi and this allows users to use their mobiles in the same way an NFC enabled device would be used.
Brands can then use mobile marketing solutions to create targeted mobile campaigns, without the need to wait for NFC.
As all smartphones are wifi enabled, by using a wireless-based solution retailers increase the proportion of their customer base who are engaged on mobile. Customers can use their smartphones in transactions like redeeming loyalty offers and this gives marketers live information about when, where, and on which offer, redemptions have been made. Again, without the need to wait for NFC.
We’re not in a situation where marketers need to wait for technology to catch up, those looking harness mobile already have the tools to integrate it with the rest of their marketing approach.
The wait for NFC is no longer holding back mobile marketing possibilities, it’s time for marketers to forget about this technology and focus on the solutions which work in the immediate.