Barnes & Noble is set to incorporate Near Field Communication (NFC) technology into its Nook line. The hardware standard, which has to date primarily been focused on allowing customers to turn their smartphones into virtual credit cards, will be a part of the new Nook strategy after Barnes & Noble received $300 million in funding from Microsoft.
However, it won't be part of a mobile payment solution for the retailer. Instead, B&N wants to use it mostly as a research tool.
Here's the idea - if you own a Nook with NFC, you could go to a Barnes & Noble retail store. If you pick up a book and are interested, tap the book to your Nook, and you'll receive detailed information about it.
At that point, you could easily download the ebook version of the title directly to your Nook. Or, equipped with the additional info you have, it could help you decide to buy the physical version of the book in the store.
What B&N wants to take away from this is knowledge. It wants to have at least some insight on the increasing issue of consumers who go into a retail store and treat it as a "showroom."
That is, they walk inside, browse the products so they can touch and feel them, and then go online and buy it for a lower price.
For B&N, being able to make that online purchase still connected to a B&N product would be incredibly ideal. But will that happen?
It would be a much more interesting strategy if the company offered some sort of discount if users went to the trouble of using this NFC feature, but we'll see if it happens to take off as is. It's certainly something that will set it apart from the Kindle.