Sanjay Jheinga of Absolute Apparel explains how using NFC technology in a cap opens up exciting promotional and advertising opportunities for customers

Absolute Apparel is the UK’s only distributor of Atlantis headwear, a brand that offers a wide range of brandable caps including styles that include innovative built-in near field communication (NFC). 

If you’re not familiar with NFC, it’s already a feature of almost all smartphones. Put simply, it’s a method of wireless data transfer that enables devices in close proximity to communicate without an internet connection. This is the technology that enables tap-and-pay services like Apple Pay and Android Pay, and it’s quick and easy to use. The wearer simply scans the cap with their phone or tablet to connect to a range of multimedia information, videos and websites.

“The humble cap has always been a stalwart of both fashion and promotional marketing, however we saw an opportunity to give the industry a breath of fresh air with this technology,” explains Absolute Apparel’s commercial director, Sanjay Jheinga. “We created a few custom orders for promotional events and saw it as a modern and engaging way to connect with the wearer to share information.”

The power to captivate

Initially, Absolute included the NFC chips with information about sustainability and traceability, as the Atlantic premium ranges are made from organic cotton and recycled polyester. “We soon realised just how powerful this tool is for building a strong and memorable brand for our customers,” says Sanjay. “So we decided to make an app to allow decorators to write the NFC chip in each cap with their own websites and personalised message.”

The ability to use NFC in garments is still fairly new, but Absolute has been impressed by the concepts that its customers have created so far. “It really provides our industry with a strong power to captivate or entertain an audience, with clear uses in music festivals or sporting events,” says Sanjay. “It enables a brand to really connect with people after an event – all in a modern and unique way that is sure to leave a lasting impression.”

With end clients including schools, promo agencies, sports teams and blue chip companies, Sanjay is excited to see how customers will continue to use the technology. “The ability for customers to pre-load the cap with a website of their choice allows for interesting awareness or marketing campaigns,” he says. “For example, a charity could put a link to their website to promote their cause at an event, or an aspiring musician could put a link to their latest album within their branded headwear. Absolute Apparel has even given out promotional caps in various exhibitions, which were loaded with our full catalogue. It’s a new technology, but the possibilities are truly endless with NFC and there is no limit to the creativity of our industry as a whole.”

Step by Step: NFC Cap

1. Download the free Atlantis Connect app from the App Store or Google Play

2. Open up the app and click on Atlantis Connect

3. Press start on the app, then hold your phone or tablet close to the cap’s chip to read the NFC tag

4. View the chip’s existing data

5. Type the details of the website that you’d like to link to the NFC chip and press ‘Write tag’

6. Check the link is correct and press ‘Yes, write’ to prepare the link to the new website

7. Hold your phone or tablet close to the cap’s chip to overwrite the NFC tag. This can be done to as many caps/chips as required. Once complete, press ‘Stop’ to end the process

8. Use your phone or tablet to scan the newly programmed chip and bring up the new website

9. The NFC chip is located in the underside of the hat’s peak, however you can scan the chip from both sides of the peak.