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News in-depth: Store aims to improve customer experience with NFC
14 Nov 2011

A new store in the US aims to demonstrate how near-field communication (NFC) technology can be used to improve the experience of customers.

ShelfX will utilise the contactless payment method and intelligent shelves equipped with built-in scales to allow true self-service for shoppers.

Ran Margalit, founder and chief executive of the company, told NFC World that he thinks it is about time grocery buying underwent a revolution.

"But in the same respect, we are taking the shopper back to a time when shopping was simple. The customer walked into a store, was greeted by name, told about the specials, paid without hassle and left," he added.

People visiting ShelfX with a smartphone will be able to see details about the items displayed on each shelf and any special offers they might be interested in. When they pick up an item, the weight change is registered and it is removed from the shop's inventory and added to the person's bill.

NFC could also be used to build up a buying profile of the customer in order to suggest further purchases.

Once they have finished, they can simply leave the store and their payment will go through automatically via the credit or debit account linked to their phone.

Mr Margalit said he thinks this technology could not only end queues at supermarkets, but also at big public events such as sports matches.

Last month, Jamiroquai announced they will be using NFC technology in order to engage with fans at future gigs by providing posters that can be scanned by smartphones to produce extra content.

Meanwhile, a forecast by In-Stat recently claimed that there will be 375 million users of mobile payment facilities by 2015, driving demand for the NFC chips that power them to 1.2 billion in the same year.

The company said businesses will soon find the benefits of incorporating such functions into new devices outweigh the costs.

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