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E. Leclerc Supermarket Tests RFID-enabled Promotional Offers

In Nice, the French retail chain is piloting a system that includes stickers with built-in Near Field Communication RFID readers that customers can use to select and redeem discounts at the store.
By Claire Swedberg
When a customer taps the sticker against a tag, the sticker captures that tag's unique ID number, which is linked to data about that item, as well as its pricing and promotional offer, in the Think&Go software. Upon arriving at the point of sale, the shopper again taps the sticker—this time, against an NFC RFID reader that downloads the coupon's ID number and forwards it to the Think&Go software to retrieve details regarding the promotion—and the POS system is then instructed to apply that discount.

"We needed to develop something simple," Berge states. "Four clicks would be too much." So instead, the system is designed for just a single button press—a user taps the MyMax sticker or his or her phone against an NFC tag, then presses a button on the sticker itself to either accept or decline an offer.

To receive a promotional coupon, a customer taps the MyMax sticker against an NFC tag attached to a product's shelf and presses a button on the sticker.

The Nice store's managers are utilizing another version of the sticker—the BT Active model, which includes Bluetooth capabilities to allow the NFC sticker to communicate with a mobile phone. As with the shopper's version of the sticker, workers can attach the sticker to the back of the phone. When managers wish to change a promotion, they can use the mobile phone's keypad to input details regarding which item's price is being reduced, and by how much, and then tap the corresponding RFID tag installed on the shelf. In this way, the new price is stored on the tag.

Following the pilot's conclusion, the store would like to be able to use the data to better understand the behavior of its customers, as well as target promotions to the appropriate customers and offer specials to those who are, for example, VIP shoppers, based on the amount of purchases they make. The stickers would store only a unique ID number to identify a particular patron, however, and no personal details about that individual, thereby protecting his or her privacy. Leclerc's management has declined to comment for this story.

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