With customers increasingly doing their shopping from their mobile phones, Woolworths is once again set to transform its customer experience with the launch of its Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled stores. This latest addition, another first for South African retail, extends the retailer’s digital shopping capability by allowing customers to enjoy a seamless omni-channel shopping experience, in store and online. Using NFC, the same technology pioneered in the banking world through tappable cards, Woolworths’ customers will now be able to tap their phones on NFC tags in various locations in-store, to browse, try-on, and order products. NFC capabilities facilitate wireless communication between a user’s phone and a chip reader to augment and streamline the shopping experience for consumers.

The pilot launch will start in its Beauty offering to seamlessly bring to store the already popular Virtual Try-On feature launched on the Woolworths website. During Covid-19, customers have been unable to use tester products in store. Now, by simply tapping their phones to an NFC tag in store, customers can quickly test products digitally and either purchase in store or on their phones for delivery later. Additionally, for stores that don’t stock the full range of beauty products, by tapping on NFC tags customers can access the full range of products online, essentially creating a virtual ‘endless aisle’.

In a further move, customers will now also be able to rate and review Woolworths products on woolworths.co.za. The new Ratings & Reviews feature, as well as the recently launched Recommendations functionality, will enhance the customer shopping experience by introducing authentic peer-to-peer customer reviews, as well as AI driven product personalisation and product recommendations, to ensure customers find exactly what they need, wherever they need it. Ratings & Reviews are another way to listen to our customers to ensure we develop products that they love.
“Technological developments in the retail industry have unlocked many opportunities for us to grow in unexpected and exciting ways. We are delighted to be able respond to these changes and deliver a growing catalogue of innovative offerings; we launched our new concept standalone liquor store, our virtual WCellar experience and our beauty virtual try-on and virtual beauty consultations in June. The introduction of NFC tagging, Ratings & Reviews and AI driven Product Recommendations, will help us to build better connections with our customers and enable them to enjoy an enhanced and personalised shopping experience, whether in store or online. We want to make shopping with us easy, inspiring, and fast through our omni-channel initiatives.” said Liz Hillock, Woolworths Head of Online and Mobile.

NFC tagging is currently in pilot in beauty stores at the V&A Waterfront and Table Bay Mall and in WCellar stores in Nicolway and Sandton. Ratings & Reviews and Recommendations are available on the Woolworths website.