The NFC challenge

By Lisa McTigue Pierce in Smart Packaging on August 28, 2015

How are you using today’s technology to engage your digitally connected customers?

Diageo, Rémy Martin and Ferngrove Wine Group have all introduced liquor bottles tagged with near-field communication (NFC) technology in the last couple months. They cite a variety of reasons, either singly or in combination, such as consumer engagement, brand protection and supply chain insights.

These progressive brands see real opportunity in engaging consumers in a digitally-driven market led by NFC:

• Deloitte Digital research revealed that mobile interaction influenced 28% of in-store sales during 2014. But that is so last year. Deloitte ups the ante with this prediction: “Digital interactions are expected to influence 64 cents of every dollar spent in retail stores by the end of 2015, or $2.2 trillion.”

• More than a third of smartphones globally are currently NFC-enabled, according to Enstream and BrandXMobile (BXM). In the near future, research firm IHS Technology estimates that 1.2 billion NFC-enable smartphones will have been shipped to consumers between 2018 and 2020.

• More than 75% of U.S. consumers who participated in a recent study were “very satisfied with their experience” of NFC compared to a 53% satisfaction rate for quick-response (QR) codes. Conducted by Strategy Analytics for the NFC Forum, the study “NFC technology: How changing consumer preferences create new opportunities for retailers” also revealed that 50% preferred using NFC to retrieve information on related products. In comparison, QR codes garnered 23% and Bluetooth beacons trailed at 10%.

Pretty impressive numbers. But possibilities don’t always become reality. David Luttenberger, global packaging directorat consumer insights leader Mintel, has a bit more tempered view of NFC’s future in packaging applications.

Packaging Digest wants to explore what NFC technology means to you and give you an opportunity to see it in action for yourself. You may have noticed the sticker on the cover of our Summer issue of a hand holding a cellphone. This is an NFC-encoded tag that, upon a tap from your NFC-enabled smartphone, will direct you to a short survey about NFC and packaging.

As an incentive to take the poll, Packaging Digest is offering one Grand Prize and 10 Top Prizes to eligible participants who complete the survey. The Grand Prize is free attendance to one UBM Canon packaging- or manufacturing-related conference of your choosing anytime in 2016. The 10 Top Prize winners will be entitled to 20% off the fee for one UBM Canon packaging- or manufacturing-related conference of their choosing anytime in 2016. Applicable conferences range in value from a couple hundred dollars to more than $1,000.

You can also access the poll at pdlinks.com/NFCpoll. But if you use the NFC tag on the cover to get to the poll, your name will be added to the prize drawing twice, improving your chance to win.

Our NFC campaign will run through the end of October 2015. Packaging Digest will share highlights of the poll results online shortly thereafter in November.

Our NFC-tagged cover is made possible through the generous support of these partners: Cellotape Smart Products, a trusted source of innovative labels and custom printing, did all the converting—that is, encoding the inlay, printing the label and embedding the inlay into it; Smartrac Technology Group donated the NFC inlays; and Thinaire is managing all the digital data connected to the tags.

Special thanks to Cellotape president Tim Daly for his initiative in proposing this project and Thinaire’s director of strategic marketing Catherine Barton for her insights and advice as we navigated through all the details to create a compelling campaign.

So don’t delay. Grab our Summer issue and tap today.

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