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Wave and communicate: the possibilities of NFC and email

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By Colin Grieves | General Manager, Experian Digital Media Services

April 27, 2012 | 4 min read

The buzz generated by Near Field Communications (NFC) has been becoming louder in recent months as uptake of the technology continues apace. The newest entrants into this marketplace have focused on the payments space, with Mastercard PayPass, Visa PayWave and Barclaycard’s stick-on mini NFC credit card leading the charge to explore the possibilities of the short range wireless communications technology.

The integration of NFC technology into mobile phones is already being discussed in the industry, with users set to be able to make a payment, validate a travel card or ticket, read information from an NFC tag or collect loyalty points on their phones. All in all, the real world roll out of this technology is shaping up to significantly change people’s on and offline experiences – with the potential application of NFC within email being one of many exciting ideas.

Many companies have already exhausted, or are effectively acquiring, email sign-ups online, so offline is the next logical place to look for new users. This is where NFC technology in mobiles can play a major role. In the past, the offline channel relied on potential users filling in information by hand, which then required another set of hands to manually input the information into a database. It is easy to understand why this method is ineffective.

NFC technology can replace the pen and paper, and therefore dramatically streamline the process. A user can simply wave their phone over an NFC hotspot and be directed to a mobile email sign-up form, which they can then quickly fill in and submit. Any offer that the vendor used to tempt the customer to give their details in the first place can then be sent straight to the user’s phone for immediate redemption.

The advantages of this technology are many, and include having the ability to track exactly which responses emanate from each NFC poster. Meanwhile, the hardware behind each NFC poster is easy to deploy, with an NFC tag being only 1mm thick and about an inch in diameter, which allows for very easy placement.

In relation to specific marketing and advertising campaigns, NFC can have a range of applications – for example, in ‘offer specific’ campaigns where a user may desire a product that is out of stock, NFC would allow them to simply tap their phone to opt-in to receive an email when it is back in store.

NFC is an exciting prospect for those working within the email marketing space – making it all the easier to reach customers, engage them new conversations and provide them with highly personalised marketing.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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