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Posts tagged with Nfc

Beacons: coming to an event near you

In an age of persistent connectivity, no modern event would be complete without its own mobile app.

During the recent Glastonbury Festival weekend, the official event app was launched more than 3m times by users checking festival news and set times, connecting with fellow festival goers, and streaming live coverage.


NFC technology in packaging: does it have a future?

Rarely a day goes by when the Econsultancy editorial team doesn’t receive an email or 10 updating us on an ‘innovative’ development from one brand or another. 

Usually I only glance over emails like this. But on a recent Friday afternoon I got one related to booze, and suddenly the sender had my attention. 


iBeacons: the hunt for stats

Are there any numbers out there to justify the hype? Let’s go on a little investigation.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, or in fact any publisher dealing in digital or marketing, you’ll likely be well versed in the world of beacons, iBeacons and other near-field communications (NFC).

If not, head on over to this handy beginner’s guide which should bring you up to speed.

Examples of beacons being used in everything from retail to one-off music or sporting events are becoming more frequent as the months roll on. It’s an exciting time, and there’s a genuine belief that this technology really will build the bridge between offline and online marketing.

happy store associates

Five retailers using NFC and RFID to enhance shopping: but do they work?

Let's take a look at who is using this technology in retail.

I'm not looking at payment here, which NFC has been mired in, merely how the shopping experience can be enhanced.

I'll get a few things off my chest about what works and what doesn't. First, a super quick differentiation between the two technologies.

Near field communication (NFC) is capable of two way communication, so payment (a debit and credit) for example, or even in medicine (a tag in your skin could send vital signs to your smartphone), and it works only at short distances. NFC can be used more basically, to simply transmit set information to a phone or tablet.

Radio frequency identification (RFID) has been around for yonks, the tags only transmit information, to an RFID reader (an NFC enabled phone or tablet such as an Android can be used as a reader, but for an iPhone a separate reader is required). These tags have been traditionally used in stock control.

There's bluetooth low energy (e.g. iBeacons) in the mix, too. However, many of the uses of beacons have been for push messaging to customers.

In this piece I'm not going to be talking about geofencing which can be done with RFID, GPS or low energy bluetooth (iBeacons). I'll be focusing on active rather than passive engagement, though I'll discuss iBeacons in my conclusion (as they're rapidly taking hold in many of the same scenarios).

Right, now that's taken care of, let's dive in...


10 trends that will impact your mobile commerce strategy

Finally, mobile devices are at a stage where technology meets and occasionally exceeds the expectations of the consumer.

Although not every retailer is offering a flawless and perfectly persuasive conversion bonanza when it comes to a mobile commerce experience, but most are now beginning to at least think ‘mobile first’ when it comes to ecommerce design.  

Obviously the arguments for responsive or adaptive design can hardly be considered a trend as it’s a conversation that's been raging for a long while.

So let's tale a look at some other recent trends that may impact an ecommerce team’s mobile strategy.


What is geofencing and why do you need it?

Depending on your upbringing, ‘fencing’ may mean something very different to you than other people.

If you’re very posh it’s the practice of non-lethally poking masked opponents with pointy sticks. If you’re slightly less posh, but still had a garden to run around in as a child, then it’s the practice of putting up a wooden division so that neighbours can’t just wander onto your property unsolicited.

And if you’re even less posh... it’s the practice of knowingly buying stolen property for the purpose of selling on at a later date.

I probably fall somewhere between the latter two.

However, perhaps you come from a long line of digital innovators and early adopters (your granddad developed the first beeper for instance) and the term fencing means more about GPS to you then anything else. If that’s the case then you probably needn’t read any further.

Then again you came this far...


10 retail and ecommerce stores integrating offline with online

From the experiential (read as ‘gimmicky’) to the practical (read as ‘will become standard practice’) there are many ways that retailers can integrate their offline stores on the high street with their online ecommerce businesses.

There’s lots of information on the blog already about digital technology in retail and a lot of it really should be thought of as the norm by now.

Unfortunately that’s not necessarily true. In a perfectly digitally integrated world the lack of services like Wi-Fi, contactless payment and click & collect would be the exception to the rule.

However there are still many trailblazers out there, not just offering the digital basics, but going above and beyond the duty of its bricks and mortar stores and offering a new world of interactivity and online integration.

Sure some of them will fail. Sure some of them you’ll barely hear about outside of a few speculative/curious articles like this (“huh, remember a few years ago when Google developed a self-driving car? What happened to that?”) 

Some won’t though. Some will go on to become exactly what’s expected from every consumer who visits your high street store.

QR code

Three mobile marketing trends that didn't live up to the hype

Mobile marketing trends come and go, just like the changing of the seasons and the tides of the sea.

Some stick around and become established marketing channels in their own right, such as SMS or mobile apps, but all too often new mobile technologies burn brightly for a short period before withering and dying.

With this in mind, I’ve rounded up three mobile marketing trends that have so far failed to live up to the hype. I’m not saying they’re dead yet, but they’re on shaky ground.

For a similar grumblings about mobile trends, read my post looking at 12 usability flaws that are spoiling the mobile web.

Or alternatively, expand your knowledge of this topic by downloading the Econsultancy Mobile Marketing and Commerce Report 2013...


Six mobile marketing alternatives to QR codes

Oh QR code, how did you fall from grace so soon?

Perhaps it was around the same time that advertisers started putting really tiny ones on posters, plastered on Underground walls on the wrong side of the platform, thereby making users dangle their arms over the train tracks smartphone in hands, oblivious to an oncoming train about to rip their arms off.

I might have made that last bit up, but if you live outside of London you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s true.

Perhaps I need a more scientific approach to gauge popular consensus on the use of QR codes.

Here’s a flow chart recently shared around the internet that helps companies decide if they might need a QR code or not.

wicker man 1973 Christopher lee

What are iBeacons and why they might change marketing?

As a relative newcomer to the digital marketing world, I've decided to write a series of 'beginner's guides' to uncover what is meant by certain terms, trends and technological advances in digital; being both a travel guide and a personal investigation.

Here I’ll be answering the following questions: What are iBeacons? What are their practical applications? Are iBeacons better than similar existing technology?

All this in a tone of voice that has been described as both 'helpful' and 'not too rambling'.

Just a cursory glance around the internet and indeed our own blog, throws up a lot of phrases and acronyms surrounding the term iBeacons (NFC, BLE… iBeacons).

Let’s have a little wade through the jargon. Bear with me, I’ll try and do this as logically as possible.

Google Wallet

2014: the year of ‘Buy with Google’?

2014 feels like a significant year for the mobile wallet.

Perhaps before long we'll all be more comfortable 'buying with Google' on mobile websites and apps.

The payment industry itself seems to be shaping up for a leap forward, with its leading conference opting for a rebrand. After 15 years as the Mobile Financial Services & NFC Summit the event has been renamed as the Mobile Wallet & Retail Innovation event in 2014.

This change reflects the slow clarification of what has been a bit of a curate’s egg until now. Confusion around NFC and smartphone hardware, as well as just what it is that the consumer wants, has distracted from exciting potential of the mobile wallet as a tool to buy on mobile websites.

In 2013, merchant-specific payment apps were arguably more successful than broader mobile payment solutions. The Starbucks app is regularly cited as one of the biggest successes thus far, used for 10% of all transactions and providing the customer with an experience enhanced by rewards. The point being, the customer wants more than just quicker payment.

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Island Records and Time Out launch NFC campaigns

After looking at the pros and cons of NFC (near field communication), it’s clear there’s a place for tapping to enjoy content as well as to pay for products.

However, the customer’s willingness to tap a poster with their phone is dependent on how well many initial NFC campaigns are carried out. Some clunky efforts, with terrible landing pages and insufficient incentives have risked putting users off for good.

This is changing as brands start to use the technology in better surroundings and to better purpose. A mall is the perfect environment to encourage users to tap with their friends.

To that end, from this week, shoppers can “turn on, tap and enjoy” content and competitions at Westfield shopping centres in London through CBS Outdoor digital pods, which use Proxama’s TapPoint NFC platform.