"A town and city centre is only vibrant and thriving if people find a reason to go there", Guy Douglas of ATCM says. "NFC is a way of delivering an enhanced town centre offer, which can only be a good thing especially when the high street is hugely challenged by ecommerce."
The Association of Town and City Management (ATCM), which has a membership representing close to seven hundred UK shopping locations, has formed a partnership with NFC-based loyalty program supplier MoLo Rewards.
The exclusive agreement aims to give local independent shops the same mobile phone and contactless card capabilities as the majors, enabling local retailers to compete with national brands, out-of-town retail parks and internet shopping.
ATCM's Guy Douglas, who is managing the Molo Rewards project, told NFC World: "We decided to go for this solution because Molo explained the concept of NFC and it just made sense to us.
"A town and city centre is only vibrant and thriving if people find a reason to go there. NFC is a way of delivering an enhanced town centre offer, which can only be a good thing especially when the high street is hugely challenged by ecommerce."
Molo offers town centres the ability to combine retail loyalty and rewards with other key elements, including parking, public transport, and access to leisure centres and other facilities. It can also be used in restaurants and bars to show proof of age ID and allow access into events.
The retailers take control; they put different starting and finishing dates on their offers and post them onto the app free of charge. Within 60 seconds they become visible to Molo users who can then redeem them in participating businesses, simply by touching their phone or contactless card to a Molo terminal.
Martin Blackwell, ATCM's chief executive, said: "We are using over twenty years of on-the-ground experience to enhance the broader public experience of the high street. NFC will have a key role in delivering that experience and Molo Rewards is at the leading edge of that sector.
"We are organising meetings with key representatives of UK mobile network operators, card issuers and retail groups, and helping to shape the adoption of NFC technology."
ATCM and Molo Rewards will be working to offer the new system to town and city centres across the UK during 2013. The move follows a six month proof-of-concept trial in Reading that, the partners say, proved to be "highly successful".