NFC chips will make your shopping easier and more lovable

Published 13 June 2017
Apple has said that they are looking at opening NFC chips in iPhones for wider usage by other parties. This was keenly awaited news for the packaging industry. With NFC chips, smartphone users through Android and iOS can connect in a similar way with physical products: just tap a product with a smartphone to automatically access a product-specific website and its digital services.

The more we can expand on this concept the better. RFID technology has traditionally been used at ski resorts and on public transportation, where the RFID-enabled smart cards automatically open gates allowing entry to lifts and busses. For businesses, smart cards enable efficient self-service cashiers, for example, to cut down on queues. Consumers appreciate the convenience.

However, during recent years, RFID has made its way further into the world of retail. In the US, the majority of the largest retailers are piloting or rolling out RFID-based solutions to improve their supply chain and logistics. Amazon GO has been widely discussed as something that delivers an even better customer experience. In Europe, the fashion store Zara is leading the way in the utilisation of RFID in operations, and it is widely recognised for its ability to efficiently roll out more seasons and targeted offerings than any other retailer.

We believe consumer packaged goods are the next category that will be disrupted using RFID. Imagine how this will empower and engage consumers. With RFID integrated in goods and appliances, consumers can seamlessly connect with instructional videos, digital services, online stores, other products or collections, and customer service – just by tapping the product with a smartphone. Your refrigerator could tell you via your phone what needs to be purchased, where and if in fact you are keeping to your diet!

According to studies, consumers are already giving equal consideration to the digital aspects of a product and not just the physical product. For instance, in popular wellness watches, it is more important to consumers what the screen and analytics can offer via the phone than how the watch looks. As the trends and consumer demand continue to shift, a whole new landscape for innovative consumer goods in FMCG and durables opens up.

Intelligent Packaging by Stora Enso helps companies with end-to-end solutions for digitising packages. In addition to an improved consumer experience and more efficient supply chains, this also supports a sustainable future with less waste and more informed consumers.

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