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NXP's Smart Market Demonstrates RFID for Shopping Experience

The market at the recent Consumer Electronics Show featured wearable NFC and UHF RFID wristbands and a variety of solutions for engaging with consumers, enabling them to purchase goods and providing inventory accuracy for stores and brands.
By Claire Swedberg

The smart market displayed electronic shelf labels from Opticon, as well as a virtual fridge from Stora Enso that (like the Coca-Cola demo) charges a user as he or she removes products from the shelf. Additionally, the system utilizes UHF RFID-enabled automated-payment solutions in the form of self-checkout systems from Decathlon and smart point-of-sale (POS) terminals from Igenco, using NFC technology.

Finally, a personalization feature utilized the wristband's UHF RFID technology to engage with attendees as they approached a digital display. A reader at the display interrogated the tag within a few feet, identified the individual and greeted him or her by name. "We call it the retail of the future," says Markus Staeblein, NXP's VP and general manager of secure mobility and retail. "Shopping has never been smarter."

Markus Staeblein
The featured demos fell into three application categories: smart supply, in-store experience, and consumer interaction or brand connection. The smart market was intended to prove how technology can make brick-and-mortar stores highly interactive, personalized, secure and efficient.

"When you see the big mega-trends taking place in retail," Staeblein says, technology offers some key solutions. For instance, he explains, inventory accuracy gained with UHF RFID technology can reduce the need for over-stocking, as well as lower the incidence of lost sales due to out-of-stocks. "This is something we're already doing with RFID, and we'll continue doing that and expanding that."

The next big step, according to Staeblein, is to improve the consumer experience within the store. Retailers have shifted their focus from growing larger to enhancing the experience they offer shoppers onsite. "They are looking at providing more excitement in the store," he states, "and making consumers more connected to the products."

Another mega-trend Staeblein points to is the combatting of counterfeit products. According to a 2018 Research and Markets report, retailers and brands globally lost $1.2 trillion due to counterfeiting in 2017. NFC labels affixed to products can help to combat those counterfeits by enabling consumers and businesses to tap their phones against labels to confirm product authenticity.

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