Narian launches retail NFC applications


US-based Narian Technologies has announced the launch of its first set of NFC applications, targeting a range of merchant categories with services that it says will complement the payment transaction.

Narian CEO Einar Rosenberg said the applications enable retailers to launch NFC services with low start-up costs and with only a low percentage of their customers carrying NFC phones. The applications enable customers to place orders, summon store employees for assistance, check product availability and use other interactive services after entering the retail establishment. The Narian backend handles the service requests.

“NFC is not just for payments, and it certainly isn’t just for the Wal-Marts of the world,’ says Rosenberg in a statement. ‘NFC allows consumers to interact directly with retailers, which opens up a world of possibilities, whether you shop at Target or the local corner store.’

He says the applications, which are designed for 16 merchant categories, including restaurants, supermarkets, departments stores, hotels and stadia, will run first on Android NFC phones and later would support all the other major platforms, including the BlackBerry operating system from Research in Motion, Apple’s iOS and Windows Phone from Microsoft.

The applications are mainly targeted at small merchants, which can start the service for $20 per month. They pay $0.05 for each time a customer taps a tag to place an order or summon an employee. But the first taps come out of the $20, so merchants, in effect, get the first 400 taps at no additional charge.

“We have what’s called a flow control system so there is no way an average consumer is going to overuse it,’ Rosenberg says. “Some retailers might think, ‘wait, 5 cents? What if this guy uses it 500 times in my store? That’s going to cost me a ton of money.’ The system doesn’t work that way. It’s designed for efficient use and no over usage, so on average for the general retailer, a consumer will use the system about three times or less.”