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White Paper: Near-field communication (NFC) in retail

White Paper: Near-field communication (NFC) in retail


Because of the prevalence of smartphones and their direct usage in retail environments, near-field communication (NFC) has attracted a lot of interest from retailers. The technology enables a range of enhanced user benefits such as easily accessible product information and at-shelf payment capabilities.

Because of its low power design, the requirement for proximity and inherently secure usage for contactless payment, NFC makes a lot of sense as a payment system enabler when a consumer only requires a few items and wants to pay immediately, instead of at a register or point of sale.

At this point, however, very few retailers have implemented an NFC ESL system. There are multiple reasons for this but certainly one is the complexity of managing a highly distributed multi-active NFC system with potentially tens of thousands of separate pieces of information. Pricer’s NFC system addresses this by providing a simple “cloud active” centralized management solution for all NFC related information that can potentially be managed in one place across an entire chain of retail locations.



NFC – What is it?

Near-field communication (NFC) is a set of communication protocols for communication between two electronic devices over a distance of 4 cm (1 1⁄2 in) or less. NFC offers a low-speed connection with a simple setup that can be used to bootstrap more capable wireless connections.

Advantages for the consumer

Enhanced product information
• The consumer can get immediate access to product information provided by the retailer or from the internet through a linked search. This information can be as simple or complex as the retailer requires and can be managed centrally for an entire chain or specific to a country region or individual store.
• The consumer does not necessarily need the dedicated store app to read the additional product information as it can be read through a browser.

NFC also makes it possible for the consumer to pay directly at the shelf when the smartphone reads the NFC information from the ESL.

NFC usage in a Pricer ESL system

Pricer provides NFC capability in many of its ESLs. In the SmartTAG Power and SmartTAG Power+ ranges, NFC is provided as a standard capability while across the SmartTag range, NFC is available as an optional feature.

Benefits of centralized management

The Pricer Plaza NFC Management system provides a secure centralized point to administer a full retail chain population of ESLs which in some cases can run into the millions. Traditional “active” NFC devices need to be individually programmed to contain the correct information, which is possibly one major reason that NFC has not been widely deployed. Pricer has resolved this situation by allowing a complete centralized management capability of all ESLs within a store or within a chain ensuring consistency, information integrity and security.

Find out more

If you want to find out more about the benefits of using NFC solutions for the shelf edge, and what key criteria should be evaluated, please download our free whitepaper, Near-field communication (NFC) in retail – enabling the consumer.