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Swedish Grocery Retailer ICA Nära Norrviken Tests NFC Price Labels
Swedish grocery store ICA Nära Norrviken has begun testing Near Field Communication (NFC) inlays integrated with pricing labels in a months-long trial that sends promotions, discounts and information about products to customers' smartphones when they tap the phones against the NFC tags. The grocery store is working with Adfields, a media technology firm specializing in proximity marketing, which provided the NFC platform.
The NFC trial has been running since early December 2015 at a store in a northern suburb of Stockholm, and is expected to run for six months, according to Neil Smith, Adfields' CTO. The tags—made with NXP Semiconductors' NTAG213 chip, which debuted in 2012 (see NXP Releases New NFC Tag Chips for New Applications)—are affixed to shelf edges and integrated with pricing labels. According to Smith, the NFC function is promoted by telling "customers to 'blip here,' a function that is becoming increasingly familiar to the Swedish public as NFC RFID technologies are rolled out on public transport and touch-to-pay credit card payments." When a customer taps the label using his or her smartphone, the phone's Web browser is directed to Adfields' server, which then uploads the appropriate information to that individual's device.
Tags on signs installed around the store inform customers about how to use the NFC technology, as well as how it is activated. Outside the store, customers can tap NFC smart posters in order to buy prepackaged grocery bags directly from their mobile devices.
The grocery store currently has 300 tags on display, Smith says, but plans are in place to expand that number throughout the course of the trial, and to optimize tag placement both inside and outside of the store. "As the trial progresses," he states, "we will be revising the online content not only to keep it up to date, but also to keep it fresh and give customers an additional reason to continue using the technology."
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