How can RFID help brands stay connected in a changing retail landscape?

The long-term consequences of the Covid-19 crisis will be wide-ranging. For consumer-facing brands the pandemic is changing the way that they connect with their customers. Alastair Hanlon, Chief Commercial Officer at PragmatIC, explains how advances in RFID and flexible electronics can play a role in the new retail landscape.

Standing out in the crowd

A recent survey by analyst Mckinsey revealed that over 40% of consumers surveyed said that they had adopted new retail habits during lockdown, such as increased online purchasing, and they intend to continue. It seems unlikely our shopping habits will ever be the same again. With more customers buying online, and in some cases directly from the manufacturers, brands now have an opportunity to stand out in the crowd, and ensure that their customers stay connected and loyal. To do this, leading brands will be looking to build direct customer relationships, shifting away from the traditional brick and mortar retailers. By gaining a deeper understanding of each of their customers and getting one-to-one insights, the brands will be able to run more effective marketing campaigns, develop new products and improve their business processes. At a time when some brands are starting to cut or rethink their advertising and marketing budgets, this is the ideal moment to investigate a new approach - linking the physical packaging to the digital world.  So, which novel technologies could boost brand engagement and help to re-build the retail industry?

RFID for retail recovery

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), NFC (Near Field Communications) and flexible electronics offer an interesting opportunity to enable brands to forge and strengthen relationships with consumers. An RFID inlay (or tag) can be added under labels or inside packaging, with an integrated circuit (IC) and a unique identifier (UID). With a simple tap of an NFC enabled smartphone a consumer can access to bespoke product information, promotions, competitions, reordering options, and even local recycling advice – before, during and after purchase. Due to the ultra-thin, flexible circuit technology used in these tags, they can be embedded in the same packaging that customers recognise, without affecting the brand identity. It will be these personalised and interactive experiences that help brands to reignite relationships with customers.

A real game-changer

RFID is not new. This technology has been used in the apparel sector for many years. However, due to the high costs associated with RFID and the traditional silicon based integrated circuits, use has not become widespread in high volume products, such as FMCGs (fast-moving consumer goods). PragmatIC’s ultra-low cost flexible integrated circuits (FlexICs) introduce intelligence and interactivity into everyday items. New technologies like this could be a real game-changer and help in the post-Covid retail industry recovery.

To find out how brands can benefit from RFID and PragmatIC FlexICs - Watch our Introduction to RFID video: