In recent years, the makers of beauty and personal-care products have been using near field communication (NFC) to create a competitive advantage. They know that today’s consumers are tech savvy and are likely to have an NFC-enabled smartphone with them at all times—and brand owners are using this knowledge to deliver more engaging experiences. They’re equipping their products with NFC tags, thereby making familiar products like cosmetics, fragrances, aesthetic devices and other beauty items part of the Internet of Things (IoT).
Smart, connected products let brand owners engage with consumers in new ways and also help the bottom line. A report from the Harvard Business Review found that smart products have an 85% lower cost per engagement and a 152% lower cost per lead.
Why are so many products using NFC as a way to connect? Because NFC tags are small, flexible and battery free so they integrate easily into labels, caps and packages. They let everyday products become intelligent, aware and interactive. With just a tap of a smartphone, NFC tags can connect consumers to the cloud, for access to digital applications and social platforms, or can be used to deliver information to the manufacturer’s enterprise, supply-chain and customer-management systems. As a result, NFC tags let brand owners increase brand transparency and accountability, create closer bonds with customers and gain insights into consumer behavior.
Full Life-cycle Benefits
NFC works at the edge of the IoT, making it possible to deploy data security and intelligence capabilities on everyday products. The benefits begin in production when NFC tags equip each product with a unique ID for use in the supply chain and after the sale. Equipped with additional security features, NFC tags can help verify originality and provide sourcing and ingredient information as part of quality assurance programs. This is important, because inauthentic products are a real concern in this market sector. According to Vandagraf Research, 10% of luxury beauty products and 20% of mass-market fragrances are fake. What’s more, consumer analysts have found that consumers expect greater brand transparency and accountability as a standard (Mintel).
Brand owners can reassure consumers by letting them verify that the products they’re considering are, in fact, genuine and made with ingredients they can believe in. NFC tags let consumers confirm originality and access extra information, including product reviews, helpful hints and usage guides. NFC tags also support loyalty programs and can reward VIP customers with exclusive content or entry into dedicated social communities. Customers can enable automatic reordering when supplies run low and can receive recycling tips when it’s time to dispose of the product.
From the consumer’s point of view, NFC delivers a new level of personalization and convenience. Brand owners are finding that customer bonds are slipping and, as a result, there’s a need to engage with consumers earlier and develop a deeper dialog that goes beyond the purchase. Tapping a smartphone to a product’s NFC tag before you buy lets you explore options, with interactive guides that let you do things like identify your skin type, find your favorite fragrance profile or scan an image of your face so you can experiment with lip color or different styles. After the sale, the NFC tag becomes a link to how-to tutorials, suggestions for new beauty regimens, expert styling tips or previews of new products. With each interaction, consumers become more engaged and help brand owners gain a deeper understanding of consumer behavior.
The Power of NFC Solutions
Here are four main ways that NXP’s innovative security features and interactive functionalities can enhance NFC operation and support brand differentiation, whether interacting with Android or iOS devices:
- Better Brand Transparency and Accountability
NFC tags equipped with high-level security features, such as originality signatures, cryptography and tamper detection, can be trusted more completely to verify an item’s authenticity and integrity at any time and at any point in its life cycle. By giving instant access to product information and authentication about where, how and when a product was made, brand owners can provide greater transparency and accountability to their consumers. Also, an individual NFC tag can be securely assigned to a specific location or distributor, making it easier to identify sales outside of authorized markets.
- Next-generation Customer Experiences
NFC tags let brand owners evolve a customer’s experiences by engaging more dynamically and more intimately. Customer interactions can reward purchases and make ownership more valuable with personalized services, loyalty programs, exclusive lifestyle content and tailored VIP services. Promotional campaigns, involving vouchers or coupons, benefit from an added level of security to prevent the misuse of discounts or unauthorized access to exclusive member benefits. These things are made possible by advancements in NFC chip functionalities, such as tap-unique URLs or proof-of-tag-presence.
Brands can also use on-chip opening status to prompt targeted messages. Pre-sale messages for sealed products can, for example, include product reviews or buying incentives, while post-sale messages for opened products can include loyalty rewards and access to social communities.
- Improved Insight into Customer Interests and Behaviors
Brand owners can access real-time intelligence from their products by acquiring first party customer data from NFC enabled interactions. Cloud-based monitoring reveals what consumers are buying and interacting with, so brands can deliver tailored content and re-target messaging for future purchases.
- Smart Operation of Beauty Devices
With personal-care devices, when a new accessory, such as a brush head, is attached to the main device with a built-in reader, a secure NFC tag can automatically and safely transfer settings to ensure proper use while accommodating automated configurations. Secure authentication can verify the origin of any consumables and can enable access to helpful hints and usage guides. Devices can be set up to track usage and send replenishment alerts, and consumers can prompt fast, secure ordering with just a tap of their phone.
Provider of Choice
As the leading supplier of secure NFC solutions, NXP offers best-in-class tag solutions from feature-light, ultra-low-cost tags like the NTAG 210µ, to tags with opening detection like NTAG 213 TagTamper, to feature-rich, advanced security tags, such as the NTAG 424 DNA series. We also supply interoperable reader devices for use with our tags in system solutions. What’s more, we provide value-added NFC services, so our customers can deploy quickly and easily, at any scale. NXP’s NTAG 2GO Configure & Trust supports a cost-efficient IC customization program, creating NFC chips that are ready to use as shipped, and NTAG 2GO Cloud Services give developers access to a secure, scalable and privacy-protected cloud platform with an easy-to-use management portal.
Case Studies in Innovation
World-class beauty and personal-care brands rely on our solutions because we are the market leader in NFC technology solutions. Here are just a few examples of how brand owners are putting our NFC tags to work.
- Philips VisaPure, USA
In this line of personal-care devices for skincare and aesthetics, the international health-technology company Philips uses NFC to authenticate brush heads and configure device operation, setting preferences for rotation and pressure. Consumers also have the option to easily reorder accessories.
- VIVACY, France
To protect their STYLAGE lidocaine products, a range of dermal fillers for use in anti-aging and aesthetic medicine, VIVACY places an NFC label on each box. Distributors and consumers anywhere around the world can e-verify the authenticity of VIVACY products by scanning them with their smartphones via a dedicated mobile app, called My Vivacy.
- Henkel Indola Haircare, Germany
This giant of international consumer goods equips their salon-exclusive Indola brand of haircare and style products with NFC tags. The tags let professional stylists find inspiration with product formulas, a creative look book, styling tutorials and more. The tags also provide access to a peer community where a stylist can connect with colleagues, exchange ideas and garner support.
- Albéa Cosmetics Packaging, France
As the world’s #1 wholesaler of cosmetic packaging, Paris-based Albéa offers a new line of packaging solutions, called the Internet of Beauty (IoB), which uses NFC to enhance consumer experiences by enabling a range of services, including quick access to product information and interaction with the brand community.
Take the Next Step
NFC tags represent a way to revolutionize the everyday routines of consumers while ramping up personalization and increasing value. NFC tags let brand owners realize the potential of the IoT and also offer new methods for fostering trust, demonstrating supply-chain integrity and increasing revenues.
To learn more about how NXP’s smart, secure NFC solutions can transform beauty and personal-care products, visit our dedicated site for NFC or contact your local NXP sales office.