The new system combines NFC tags placed on product labels and shelf-edges with a 'preference engine' stored on a consumer's mobile phone so that, for instance, shoppers can be alerted if a food product contains an ingredient they are allergic to or does not meet their pre-set shopping preferences.
French start-up Think&Go NFC has introduced NFC Commerce, a new retail solution that includes a wide range of applications that retailers can use to enable shoppers to interact in their stores via NFC.
NFC Commerce includes a shopping preference engine, coupon collection, in-store navigation and relational advertising modules, Think&Go NFC's Tim Baker told NFC World at the Wima conference and exhibition in Monaco last week. Here, the system can be configured so that, for example, when the shopper chooses to buy spaghetti, an advert for a particular brand of bolognese sauce is delivered instantly to their mobile phone.
The shopping preference engine, meanwhile, allows information stored on NFC tags to be filtered so that consumers can be alerted when an item for sale does or does not meet their purchasing needs.
In an example on show at Wima, the preference engine can be used to set up a list of items to which the user is allergic, does not like or prefers not to eat. When a shopper reads the NFC tag for a particular product, its ingredients are transmitted to their mobile phone.
They are then run through Think&Go's shopping preference engine and the results are displayed on the handset. These can also be configured by the user in a number of different ways but, in this instance, can be set so that the phone displays a red 'not recommended' flag if the item contains an unsuitable ingredient.
Think&Go is working closely with the St Isidore, Nice branch of the Leclerc supermarket chain — where the system is on test — on the development of NFC Commerce. "The advantage of NFC is a personalised communication to the customer," says Thierry Cornac, managing director of the store. "We help the customer through the special offers, from the entrance to the cashier."
Cornac has participated in the production of a video showing the ways in which NFC is being used in the store, by both consumers equipped with an NFC phone and by those equpped with a Leclerc branded NFC add-on affixed to their existing phones:
The goal, says Baker, is to continually evolve new modules for NFC Commerce, based on feedback from retailers, to ensure that the system meets the widest possible range of retailing needs.
Potential application include easy access to product information, special dietary needs and context-aware needs, in-store navigation, personalized marketing, cross-selling, up-selling, consumer behaviour tracking, loyalty cards, coupon capture, advertising channels and more.
"The simple gesture of reading a tag with a NFC enabled mobile phone means that interaction with products and in-store information systems becomes so easy that any consumer can use it with pleasure," Think&Go explains. "With opt-in consumer tracking, retail stores can understand detailed consumer activity and better serve their needs with targeted special offers and information."