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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

NFC also enables mobile payments at stores, says Mike Klein, NXP's marketing communications manager. Shoppers can use NFC on their mobile phones, or stores can utilize loyalty cards, facial recognition and artificial intelligence. Consumers are already accustomed to self-checkout systems at stores, by which they must scan the bar codes on the products they purchase. With NFC or RFID, that process can be made faster and more automatic, with readers built into POS counters or at exits, in order to automatically identify what is being purchased and then bill customers accordingly.

Another key solution on which NXP and other solution providers are focusing is dynamic pricing, Staeblein reports, in the form of electronic shelf labels with NFC technology. In this way, prices can be updated remotely, even according to the time of day at which shopping takes place. What's more, shelf labels can serve as an alternative to item-level tags, enabling consumers to access data.

Mike Klein
Consumers can utilize electronic shelf labels to capture information regarding products that are not already tagged, by tapping their phones against NFC tags built into the labels. In this way, they could check pricing, view information from consumers about particular products or read specifications.

Smart vending machines, such as the one Coca-Cola now offers at gas stations, enable customers to provide a credit card for payment to a machine, then open the refrigerator door, take what they want and automatically be billed for that item, based on the RFID tag read.

The third application is consumer interaction, Staeblein states. Consumers can use their own phones to read NFC tags, view information about a product, collect loyalty points or participate in contests. "When you look at the breadth of our portfolio," Klein says, "what we're bringing to life is an end-to-end shopping experience."

All of the demos at the smart market display represented systems on trial or deployed by brands and retailers. The smart shelves were provided by Surge Cloud, while the interactive advertising and POS solutions demonstrated were provided by Ingenico or TPG.

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