NFC and Small Business: More Than Mobile Payments

There is no question that mobile payments are revolutionizing the point of sale industry.   NFC (near field communication) technology is one of the ways in which our society is moving gradually toward a cashless economy.  If more and more smartphones are built with NFC capability, the uses for this technology may become increasingly abundant.  Though mobile payments are one of the possibilities, NFC offers more than just a way to “swipe and pay.”

For the small business operator, NFC can enhance the customer experience by offering a quick and easy way for your consumers to “check in” on social media outlets like Twitter, FourSquare, and Facebook.  Without the additional time and effort required to pull up the application on a smartphone and click through to check in, it is possible that more of your customers will take advantage of the “check in” feature and help promote your business with social media sharing.  On an NFC-enabled device, consumers can swipe their smartphones on a dedicated tag mounted in your place of business and automatically broadcast to their social followers that they are frequenting your company.  There is no better endorsement than a happy customer; NFC technology may allow you to promote your business without running pricy advertisements in print and online editions.

Small businesses can also benefit from NFC technology in the area of mobile loyalty programs and rewards.  With a quick swipe, your customers can access loyalty programs on offer while you reap the benefits of engaging the consumer’s repeat business.  Your company can also use NFC technology to heighten security and control thermostats and lighting fixtures.  NFC-enabled devices are already being used as “access cards,” replacing old-fashioned swipe cards and giving employees access to secure areas while protecting your company’s investments.  Engaging customers with interactive technology like NFC makes your branding and marketing program a more rewarding experience.  The possibilities for the hospitality industry really are endless: NFC-enhanced menus,  hotel room keys, elevator access stations, and much more.

Though NFC is not yet fully in the mainstream, Forrester Research predicted that approximately 100 million NFC-ready devices would ship to consumers in the year 2012.  The movement toward contactless mobile payments could drive increasing demand for NFC-capable smartphones.  However, as these devices become more familiar to the average consumer, small businesses can find many additional ways to reap the benefits of this exciting technology prospect.

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