Proximity marketing intrusion: NFC VS Beacon

Changes in EU data laws are coming, and they surround intrusion and data privacy. This brings into focus the debate between NFC and Beacon technology for instore proximity marketing.

The issue is that retailers want to engage with customers by offering contextually relevant information. They do this by transmitting information like blogs, product information, YouTube videos and more to the customer’s handset.

Whilst both NFC and Bluetooth require the customer to download an app, signifying active consent on the part of the customer, the two methods are very different.

Beacons transmit constantly, meaning that if you have the app and your Bluetooth is on, the beacon can send you information as you walk through the store – whether you want it or not.

Imagine this:

You are be in a clothes store and may be open to receiving information about a certain sneaker brand but you may be bombarded with information about jackets that you have no interest in. You cannot filter what you need, and you have no control over what you receive.

The result is a whole load of messages that are completely irrelevant to you. That is not the way to engage your customers, and it certainly doesn’t help your conversion rate.

What’s the alternative?

NFC gives people choice. We’re talking about proximity marketing here for a reason. The closer you are to a product, the more targeted the information is about it. With NFC tags, you actively tap your handset on the tag, indicating that you want to know more. The push message with a link to a video, website, blog etc., is actually relevant. By tapping the tag, you are looking to get more information about the specific item, and that’s exactly what you get.

Tags draw your consumers into an extra dimension in the buying journey – and they are willing participants in it.

Active participation VS passive participation

Not only is NFC more targeted and relevant, there is the major issue of active participation in advertising and passive participation. We like relevant advertising – it helps us make informed purchasing decisions. As we discussed in this blog, we love advertising when it gives us what we want. And for that, we need control over what is being presented to us.

NFC tags gives us control by choosing the advertising we want. Beacons on the other hand are entirely passive. We live in an age when your customers demand control and passive marketing risks turning them off.

To learn more about how NFC tags draw your customers into an engaging and multidimensional buyer journey, click here.


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