An integrated solution for 'smart' NFC (near field communication) apparel hang-tags that provide brands with a new way to engage directly with shoppers and customers through a smartphone has just been launched.

The collaboration between NFC specialist Thin Film Electronics ASA and Charming Trim & Packaging, which provides trim and packaging solutions to the garment industry, means the physical hang tag becomes a digital portal.

And this allows brands to instantly communicate relevant content, including sustainability and traceability information, current fashion tips, cross-sell/up-sell offers, and "endless aisle" functionality.

Through the partnership, Thinfilm's NFC SpeedTap and OpenSense technologies will be incorporated in Charming's apparel hang tags. Full integration with Thinfilm's CNECT Brand Analytics SaaS platform enables streamlined tag configuration, campaign creation and management, and analytics reporting.

Given its dynamic nature and need to combine personalised marketing with a more responsive supply chain, the apparel industry is ideally suited to benefit from physical-digital solutions combining easy-to-use NFC technology with the flexibility of cloud-based digital marketing.

In recent years, item-level retail technology has focused on back-office functions like inventory management and loss prevention.

Now, NFC allows digital native shoppers to launch mobile experiences with a simple tap of their smartphone. Cloud-based marketing can update messaging in real time to bridge the gap between the speed of social networks and the sometimes long lead times inherent in fashion design, production, and freight.

The Thinfilm SpeedTap technology integrated into a product's hangtag, label, or packaging can be read with the tap of an NFC-enabled smartphone.

Once a consumer taps the NFC tag with a compatible smartphone, the phone connects to Thinfilm's CNECT cloud platform to launch a highly relevant mobile consumer experience, including contextually relevant product and brand information, promotions, authentication messaging, and other brand-directed content.

"The apparel industry is incredibly dynamic and fast-paced, and we continue to see a growing interest in NFC as an enabling technology among brands and ecosystem partners," says Davor Sutija, CEO of Thinfilm.