Engaged customers are loyal customers. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder to catch and keep their attention long enough to make an impression. The good news is your wildest brand campaign dreams are possible with the right retail technology under your belt (or your label). Our apparel label experts share their secret weapon in the war for engagement and five ways to use it to your advantage.


Is customer engagement ‘broken’?

Customer engagement is reaching a point of critical mass. A rise in the number of people working from home caused weekday footfall across UK retail destinations to drop by 14.2% in 2022 compared to 2019, making it harder for retailers to engage shoppers directly. Challenges like these have only expedited the move to digital experiences to engage customers…

Think you can just switch to digital engagement? That's not easy, either! Organic engagement has been slowly declining for several years, with only the most ridiculously innovative brands (or those willing to shell out big bucks for paid engagement) rising to the top.

Although the quality of your product and service can take you far where loyalty is concerned, you still need to keep customers engaged between purchases and even create moments of brand delight as part of the buying journey. And that’s where NFC technology comes in…


What’s NFC technology, and how does it work?

NFC stands for ‘near-field communication.’ It’s a proximity-based, short-range RFID communication technology. Tapping an NFC-enabled device — like a smartphone or tablet — to an NFC chip allows you to make transactions or link to exclusive digital content.

Because NFC chips are encoded, the technology is a go-to for contactless payments (AKA Apple Pay and Google Pay). It’s also popular for secure Bluetooth pairings and device connections. NFC has been busy helping other sectors, and now it’s retail’s turn to enjoy the tech…


Exploring your NFC label options

Your choice of NFC label depends on your product size and type, and the functionality you want your label to have. We have two main types of NFC labels here at Checkpoint — Eyewall labels and DUÉ Mini labels.

Eyewall labels are the newest addition to our NFC portfolio, and will be coming in early 2024, so we don't want to give away too many spoilers! There are three different sizes and formats, so if you'd like to be one of the first to know about them, don't hesitate to get in touch with one of our friendly sales team!

Close-up image of the Eyewall NFC Technology labels from Checkpoint


DUÉ labels are the trailblazers of customer interactivity. They fall into a class of labels we call ‘dual technology’ because they combine two different technologies in one label — NFC and UHF RAIN RFID. The RFID element gives you superhuman inventory transparency, and the NFC chip facilitates customer smartphone interaction with a single tap. You’ve got options, too; DUÉ inlays can be incorporated into stickers, hangtags, and pocket tags.


Not sure which to choose? Ask our team!


How NFC can improve customer engagement

1)   Create in-store experiences…but better

Eye-catching displays aren’t the only way to lure extra footfall into your brick-and-mortar stores. You can use NFC-enabled labels to create unmissable in-store experiences that’ll tempt even the most introverted shoppers into public spaces.

Using DUÉ Mini or Eyewall labels, you can create in-store augmented reality experiences or send customers to immersive video content of your last runway show or promo video. NFC labels can also take customers to apps, mini-games, or social media lookbooks or product styling inspiration hashtags.

NFC-enabled labels can also be placed in stores to help guide customers around a space or to give more information on a product display or promotion. With enough imagination, almost anything is possible with the tap of a smartphone!


2)   Loyalty programs with a difference

NFC chips can also be used to get shoppers engaged with loyalty programs. Better yet, they won’t have to stand at the till and fill out a lengthy sign-up sheet or manually find your app in the app store — one tap of a smartphone on the garment tag or product, and they’re in!

Encourage sign-ups and sales by adding a 'tap for saving' sticker to the product label, which sends the shopper to your loyalty sign-up page, which releases a discount for the garment. You can also incentivize sign-ups with access to exclusive content, event invites, or to earn points and rewards. It removes the friction of a manual sign-up process and almost gamifies loyalty, making it much more fun and addictive than a standard program.

3)   Personal shopper in a tag

NFC technology tags are there to upsell and cross-sell when your retail staff are tied up. One tap of a tag unleashes a wealth of related products, curated to complement the garment your customer has just 'tag tapped.'

You can also use a handy combo of RFID and NFC (like our Eyewall Large or DUÉ Mini labels) alongside smart mirrors in fitting rooms. The two chips work in tandem to show shoppers what's in stock, allow them to request other styles and sizes from staff, and upsell or cross-sell related products. It's a personal shopper experience condensed into a tappable label.


4)   Give the (verified) seal of approval

Luxury brands love NFC technology because it’s super secure and encrypted. Embedding an NFC chip into products like footwear, handbags, and accessories, or embedding an Eyewall sticker into wine or liquor bottle labels makes them scannable, traceable, and verifiable.

The Eyewall Tamper sticker is a fab choice for protecting liquor and wines against grey market activities. It verifies the product’s authenticity and proves it hasn’t been opened or tampered with.

In the apparel and retail markets, brands like Levi’s, Gucci, and Oscar De La Renta have launched their own buy-back schemes and pre-loved outlets to help protect the value of their brand while boosting their environmental credentials.


5)   Share gotta-know sustainability and product info

As the Digital Product Passport (DPP) rollout creeps ever closer, more shoppers will turn to your product labeling to get the info they need to make an informed purchase. This is the best time to think about turning your garment labels into information powerhouses.

NFC labels are particularly interesting for DPP applications because they’re small enough to embed into almost anything and can be stuck to super-small products and accessories. The customer simply taps their smartphone to the tag and is taken to a webpage or website showing detailed product information in line with legislation.

You can go one step further with your NFC garment labels, too. Why not use them to give customers garment care information, end-of-life recycling info, or details on your sustainability report, goals, or certifications. That’s a ton of info, available with a single tap — can’t get more transparent than that!


The five examples shared here are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to NFC-enabled customer engagement opportunities. Get in touch and ask us more about it — we’ve worked with tons of retailers on all sorts of briefs, so there isn’t much we haven’t tried! Let us know what you’ve got in mind, and we’ll help you explore all the ways NFC labels can get you there.