Thinfilm & GlaxoSmithKline Introduce NFC Smart Shelves


The interactive ‘Smart’ shelves feature NFC Tags designed to ‘educate consumers and drive purchasing decisions.’

Thinfilm, a leading supplier of NFC based mobile marketing and smart packaging has teamed up with GlaxoSmithKline to help promote GSK’s Flonase® allergy relief product. The NFC tags will be integrated into the shelving allowing consumers to scan to access more information. The software behind the tags aims to provide specific product information about the nasal spray.

The cloud based software also has the benefit to GSK in allowing them to understand how consumers are interacting with the information provided. The messaging and content can be updated at any time and dynamically changed – perhaps depending on the season or weather.

Flonase ® Allergy Relief

“At GSK, we focus on helping people do more, feel better, and live longer. And we do that, in large part, by delivering highly effective products to the market,” said Sriman Banerjee, Director – R&D Respiratory Packaging for GSK. “But we also realize that connecting directly with consumers to provide unique and meaningful experiences is critical in today’s market. We believe an innovative mobile technology like Thinfilm’s can play a critical role in strengthening customer relationships, building brand loyalty, and driving revenue for the Flonase® brand.”


“We are delighted to work with GSK – a global leader, an innovator, and a company that is changing the face of healthcare,” said Davor Sutija, CEO of Thinfilm. “Bringing Thinfilm’s NFC solutions to a valued product like Flonase® is a milestone in the industry, and we look forward to helping GSK drive the brand’s value by connecting directly with consumers at the time of purchase decision-making.”

The NFC Benefit – NFC.Today’s Opinion

There’s generally three levels of using NFC Tags for ‘point of sale’ product marketing. The ‘store’ level – where the tags are used on posters or public locations around the store. The ‘aisle’ level where NFC tags are located on the shelf or at strategic points along the aisle. And then there’s the ‘product’ level, where tags are positioned on the products themselves.

In our opinion, the ‘aisle’ level, which is the route taken here by Thinfilm and GSK, is the way forward at the moment and presents the best opportunity for NFC. This is why.

The store level doesn’t work very well for two reasons. Firstly, because the call to action is typically too vague – the ‘why am I tapping this now ?’ isn’t easy to make clear enough. There needs to be a specific reason why someone would bother and the right time, right place at the store level is rarely correct for product promotion. Remember, it’s not like a normal advert where people might catch the message by walking past. The consumer needs to stop and take time to get any benefit from a smart poster. Secondly, and more importantly, nobody wants to look a fool. Not many people really want to stand around waving their mobile phone in front of a poster in some open place. A few kids might, but they aren’t likely to be your target market.

The product level is simply too expensive. The cost of (reliably) putting NFC tags on individual FMCG and similar goods is still too high in relation to the number of people that will gain benefit. The marketing returns just don’t add up.

The aisle level by contrast solves all these issues. It provides right time, right place location so people get the information they need just at the point of decision. It provides enough privacy so people will ‘have a go’ at waving the phone in front of the tag without looking daft and it brings the cost right down because you only need one tag for all the products you will sell at that store.

NFC campaigns like this are thin on the ground and response rates due to consumer awareness are always going to reflect that. However, it’s an ideal product for more information and a good way of making the best of the current awareness levels.