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Woolies extends digital shopping capabilities with NFC-enabled stores

Woolworths is launching near-field communication-enabled stores, as it caters to customers who are increasingly doing their shopping from mobile phones.

Source: File photo
Source: File photo

Tap and go


Using near-field communication (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 the retailer's Beauty offering to bring to stores the Virtual Try-On feature launched on the Woolworths website in May. 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’.

Rate and review


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.


“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 to 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 omnichannel 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.

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