Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Virtual Agent Tips and Tricks: Near Field Communication, Digital Payments, and Virtual Agents in Your Favorite Store?

New technologies are developing to create unique experiences for customers; Near Field Communication (NFC) is one of those technologies. NFC allows companies to know when you are in the store and monitor your interactions with different products. These “sensors” give companies the ability to provide you with a personalized experience. Here is an example from an article written by David Marcus, President of PayPal, about Near Field Communication and wearable devices…

“For example, we have a pilot running in our on-campus Starbucks that combines Beacon, with an app built for the Samsung Galaxy Gear 2, and Gear Fit devices. Walk into the area covered by the Beacon, your watch notifies you you've checked-in, the barista, greets you by name because your photo shows up on the point-of-sale system, and when she rings you up, you get another push notification. Tap on the watch to confirm the payment, and go. This is one of the most transformative payments experience I've had. No wallet. The phone never leaves my pocket. And I'm in control” (Three Trends that MightTransform the Retail Payments Experience).

This example combined NFC and wearable technology to create a completely personalized shopping experience. In the future, Virtual Agents will be incorporated into virtual retail experiences - For example, if you are interested in buying a router, you can scan the box and a Virtual Agent will pop up on your phone to tell you everything you need to know about that product, acting as a personal “shopping advisor”. While this is happening, your data (interactions with different products) are being sent to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for sales associates to interpret your history and cater promotions or messaging specifically to your interests/needs. 

There is a lot of controversy surrounding NFC, specifically related to security issues. What is your opinion on NFC? Would you opt to share your 'in-store' activity resulting in a more personalized experience?