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NFC phones could deliver a single view of customers across multiple channels

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An emerging mobile phone technology called NFC (near field communication) will play a key role in enabling retailers to create a single view of their customers across multiple channels, according to a new research report 'NFC: The Road to Commercial Deployment'.

Consumers with NFC-enabled phones will be able to simply touch their phone in store to a 'smart' poster or product label containing an RFID chip to sign up for a loyalty programme, collect a money-off coupon, update their Facebook status or go online to read a product's customer ratings and reviews or place an online order.

NFC phones can also be used to store virtual versions of retail loyalty cards and discount coupons and are compatible with POS terminals that accept contactless bank cards. "Retailers who switch to the new terminals will be able to take advantage of the advanced mobile loyalty and promotional programmes NFC is set to deliver without having to install any extra hardware," say the researchers.

"The first commercial NFC services are expected to go live from early 2011," the report forecasts. "Banks and mobile network operators are set to go head to head in a bid to win control of the new business and persuading retailers to sign up for the new services will be key to their business plans. Retailers who educate themselves now about this new technology will be able to negotiate the best possible deal and gain advantage from introducing NFC services as early as possible."

'NFC: The Road to Commercial Deployment' is a 70 page research report investigating the international market for near field communication technology from 2010 to 2014. It is published by SJB Research, a UK company specialising in analysing the market for emerging technologies in the mobile and payments fields.

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