Back to the Future

where_hoverboard_600
Near Field Communications (NFC) can make life easier for consumers, and ultimately even retailers.

Remember the wild predictions made in Back to the Future: II about life in 2015?

While science is yet to fast-track research on thumbprint currency or hoverboards (seriously, why don’t we have them yet?!), it’s quite possible that in the near future, the only thing we need when we head out the door are our phones. How? Thanks to new, increasingly popular technology called Near Field Communications (NFC).  Already part of several contactless transactions apps like Google Wallets, TagPay etc., NFC is poised to become the industry standard the world of mobile e-commerce has been waiting for.

The appeal to consumers is obvious, but what does this innovation mean for businesses? Here are just 3 ways in which NFC can radically affect the way we do business.

1. No more apps.

Not even the most loyal smartphone shoppers download an app for every store they visit. Besides who really wants to open an app, scan a QR code and wait for the information to load every time they are in a store?

With NFC, retailers can offer a centralized system without a designated app.  So even if she were a first-time visitor, a person could download all coupons valid at the store, check-in, access a store map, and even start collecting loyalty points thanks to a NFC hotspot within the store.

2. Edumacate me.

Retailers can offer content that’s helpful and highly relevant to the purchase or the consumer. Timely content could help cement loyalty of highly distracted shoppers.

For example: If I bought a lipstick at Sephora, the checkout computer could suggest 3 looks I could create with my new lip color. Or when I buy a Home Theatre System, a handy installation manual is saved to my phone.

3. The doctor will see you now.

Due to its secure nature, NFC sharing can drastically reduce wait-times at the store. Or even better, at the worse place on earth – doctor’s offices. Secure document-sharing means you can transfer information instantly or even en route to the clinic.

Although still in its infancy, NFC has immense, life-changing potential beyond just mobile money payments. Some of these may happen as soon as 2015. I, personally, am very excited to see what the future will bring. Fingers crossed, it’s hoverboards.