Retail industry has experienced significant change over the past ten years because of digital intervention including on the internet, smart mobile phones and other mobile technology. Consumers' rapid adoption of new technology has recently been the key driver of change in the retail sector.
Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in retail has faced mixed reactions in recent years. Buyers and retailers have quickly adopted card-based NFC payments (PayWave/PayPass) at POS ports, taking advantage reduced transaction times at the checkout. On the other hand, e-wallet and Smartphone repayment technologies have struggled to gain a foothold.
Presently there has been a quantity of practical barriers to wider adoption of e-wallets. Mobile wallets can be used anywhere that contactless cards are being used, but specific mobile pocket solutions have not come to scale on Android devices, and are not yet permitted on Apple devices. Product naming is another challenge; with remarkable costs associated with identifying items with individual radio-frequency recognition of (RFID) tags. NFC Technology can also offer consumers the ability to pre-order goods and services, record loyalty points, or use location-based services.
There are also many untapped benefits associated with NFC technology. Retailers can save on flat fees charged by banks on transactions, only having to pay when consumers top-up their account for example, Starbucks, although some credit transaction fees can be levied on a percentage basis. Buyers can provide an interactive shopping experience, obtaining inspiration for recipe ideas by scanning services items using their phones. Presently there are opportunities for the integration of phones and payments, offering consumers a chance to pre-order goods and services, record loyalty points, or utilise location-based services in addition to obtaining digital receipts for in-store acquisitions.
Mobile offers an exclusive opportunity for direct retail communication between brands and customer. Given the pervasiveness of smartphones in Australia, targeted advertising via mobile allows to interact with consumers on a more personalized level. This can be leveraging existing brand visibility, for example, a retailer can send notifications or promotions to customers who have already installed their mobile application. Alternatively, 'beacon technology' where retailers can broadcast their online presence and offerings to potential clients at short range can improve a user's in-store experiences.