In a previous blog, I touted the marketing opportunities presented by near field communication (NFC), a technology that allows users to instantly access websites. Several smartphone brands already offer this technology standard. Apple’s iPhone did not, and there was speculation that it would be included in the release of the iPhone 5.
But when Apple announced the new features of the iPhone 5, it did not include the NFC technology — a lost opportunity for Apple, its consumers and the marketing world.
NFC is widely used in Western Europe and Japan, where consumers use it for anything from mobile wallets to ordering their lunch off NFC-enabled posters. However, it is not as widely used in the U.S. there is speculation that Apple did not include it on the iPhone 5 because the technology is not yet mainstream enough, and it believes its Passbook technology will have the same function. But the iPhone is one of the most popular smartphones in the U.S. — so NFC needs its support to truly take off.
Why Should We Care?
NFC marketing possibilities are endless and offer a great way to engage customers at impact moments. NFC technology can take consumers to any mobile site an advertiser wants. A consumer packaged goods brand can use it on shelf talks to take consumers to a “what’s for dinner” recipe using its product; a retailer can use it on pedestrian level units (such as transit shelters) near its stores to offer up coupons; a bank could use it in its airport advertising to immediately take consumers to an ATM locator. Advertisers could also use these opportunities to get consumers to opt-in to more “to and with” communication — the brand engagement most brands are looking for.
With Apple waiting on NFC technology to be more mainstream, and NFC needing Apple to help it get there, we are all missing out on “what could have been.”