AIPIA Congress 2016

Thinfilm partners with Hopsy to integrate NFC tags on its craft beer

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Olive oil

Thinfilm has partnered with Hopsy to integrate its NFC (Near-Field Communication) OpenSense technology onto its locally produced craft beers across the US.

The tags allow microbreweries to engage with consumers and educate customers on their brand story.

Millennials want information at their fingertips

Speaking at the AIPIA Congress, in Amsterdam, (November 14-15), Erwan Le Roy, EVP business development & GM NFC solutions and smart sensor products, Thinfilm, said NFC is an ideal mobile technology to target Millennials (born between 1980-2000).

Millennials are an important target group for marketeers because they are going to be the number one population for a long time. They have surpassed the ‘baby boomers’ generation and they will make more money and have ‘financial muscles’ because they will have the largest total income. Today, every brand is trying to say they connect to millennials​,” he said.

They are the number one owners of smartphones, compared to Gen X and Baby Boomers. They use smartphones the most, they communicate with smartphones so whatever technology you use, it has to communicate easily with their smartphone​.

Le Roy added the challenges will be to connect with millennials because they don’t believe in sales pitches or advertising billboards. They have to be told as an individual, a one-on-one relationship, a one-on-one digital journey, with many connections to understand the individual and with a personalized offering. This is a big challenge because mass marketing does not work for this new generation.

The key requirements will be to communicate instantly in less than one second, millennials are not patient, companies have to connect with them before and after their purchase​,” he added.

NFC is one example of communicating with millennials and can be integrated into a package with a simple sticker or inlet. They are very thin and can be seamlessly integrated to a label, capsule, carton or box​.

The number of smartphones today have NFC by default with no app to download. There are over 1bn NFC phones in existence today and we expect this growth to continue next year as it’s a fast moving eco system​.”

One-on-one customer journey

Le Roy said NFC can hold a lot of data, each time there is an interaction in the store or at home. Thinfilm has a cloud service where each time a device is near a package it can identify the device, identify the data usage and send personalized information as part of a one-on-one customer journey.

Baby boomers want privacy and don’t want to exchange personal information, millennials are okay to share information as long as they get the right service/offering for them in return, and it’s relevant to them, that’s where data is important​,” he said.

The trade-off technology is 2D barcode and AR (Augmented Reality). When we compare those different types of technology for creating a smart package that speaks to millennials there are four important criteria; ease of use; cost; product recall and security​.

With NFC there is no app to download, people don’t want to download apps and add new ones to their smartphone. 2D and AR needs an app because its picture-led. A 2D barcode is ugly which is why you never see it on the front of a package ie you never see a barcode on the front of a wine bottle​.”

Thinfilm recently took part in an Olive oil pilot trial in Italy with an NFC tag, due to the problems with counterfeit products, regarding EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil). Four manufacturers in Tuscany took part in the pilot using NFC and a ‘Dash button’ (repeat purchase button).

Millennials want to interact with their product and ensure it is genuine not counterfeit. We partnered with craft beer manufacturer, Hopsy in the Silicon Valley, US to interact with consumers via NFC integrating a brew master video onto bottles to enhance the user-experience for people who buy the beer. The short video tells a story about the product. Storytelling for a brand is particularly meaningful​,” said Le Roy. 

With an OpenSense NFC tag on wine, consumers know the bottle they buy is genuine, and that it hasn’t been opened. It verifies the product for the end user, he added.

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