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NFC Applications for Wine and Spirits Brands

Authentication and social engagement are among the strongest business cases for wine and spirits brands to adopt smart labeling technology. How is Near Field Communication disrupting the way in which consumers interact with brands—and what can wine brands do to adopt the technology and use it to their advantage?
By Marsha Frydrychowski
Mar 03, 2019

By 2024, the global Near Field Communication (NFC) market will nearly triple as adoption of the technology grows. What's more, the latest generation of Apple iPhones can read NFC tags without the use of a third-party app. All of this means the average smartphone-carrying consumer will not only be familiar with NFC, but will be able to tap his or her device to an NFC label on your bottle and access any verification or promotional material programmed into the tag.

This NFC technology boom is already disrupting the way in which consumers interact with brands—consumers prefer using NFC tags to QR codes two to one, according to a study conducted by Strategy Analytics. Wine and spirits brands that adapt to consumers' preference for mobile technologies now will get ahead of their slow-to-change competitors and establish themselves as innovators in the industry.

Let's examine two of the strongest business cases for wine and spirits brands to adopt NFC smart labeling technology: authentication and social engagement.

Authenticity of High-Value Wine and Spirits Products
Counterfeit wine is pervasive, with an estimated $3 billion market—and for every dollar of fake wine sold, premium wine brands are losing business. Consider the 2012 case of wine collector Rudy Kurniawan, who mixed and sold fraudulent bottles of vintage wine. As much as $550 million in counterfeit wine he sold is still on the market.

While there is no single-layer solution to this widespread problem, smart labeling technology is proving promising as a way for premium wine customers to authenticate the provenance of the wine they purchase. Each NFC tag contains a semiconductor with a unique identification number, allowing wine brands to program item-specific information into each wine label, which is encrypted and far more difficult to replicate than a UPC code. When combined with other anti-fraud precautions, NFC tagging allows premium wine brands to prevent counterfeiting and premium wine customers to be confident in every purchase.

For wines in the $150-and-up price category, the cost of the NFC tags is inconsequential when compared to the added value of brand protection, consumer trust and fraud prevention. With a study reporting that 75 percent of wine customers are more likely to purchase from a brand if it uses anti-fraud technology, incorporating NFC tags into your product labels could contribute to sales uplift.

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