Cloud-based NFC brings traceability and marketing mix

April 25, 2014 // By Julien Happich
RFID has been around for some time in logistics and implemented as a basic-antitheft device de-activated at the cashier. The readers used to be proprietary and the chips would not provide any useful information outside an identification number to be matched with the retailer’s own logistics database.

With most Android phones now able to read NFC tags, brands can associate every NFC-tagged product with specific branding messages, accessed by the consumer through dedicated applications. This not only opens up new marketing channels for the brands, but each NFC-read out by would-be buyers can actually feed geolocalisation data (via the smartphone) about the item being read.

For the consumer, the embedded NFC tag provides unique product authentication, by being matched or not in the brand’s own database of manufactured items. For the brands and their retailers, cloud-based operation via the smartphone’s internet connexion means that brand protection and product traceability now go hand-in-hand with consumer data and direct marketing.

If you’ve been buying wine at 1000 euros a bottle, then you don’t want to be drinking tainted water. If you’ve been buying expensive perfumes or cosmetics, the brands will want to ping your smartphone when you are in proximity of a retailer, maybe offering you a discount on products you haven’t tried yet.

At a time when geolocalisation and proximity marketing are the rage, luxury brands are among the first to look into item-level NFC authentication. The small cost overhead of embedding the NFC-chip and managing a cloud-service could largely be compensated by the extra marketing insight they get as they engage directly with their customers.

Belgium startup Selinko is fitting in the picture by providing its NFC-labelling expertise and database management services. Only a year and a half after it was launched late 2012, the company has secured one million Euros in private funding to develop its commercial activities in France and Internationally.

The company who positions itself as an anti-counterfeiting solution provider for the Internet-of-Things wants to expand beyond the luxury markets, promoting item traceability together with direct marketing tools. Upon NFC authentication, each item becomes a new channel of communication, effectively it become a new point of sale through the branded application.