It’s taken some time, but mobile barcode scanning and comparison shopping is a common activity among consumers. Barcode scanners are a standard feature of most retail apps, providing access to in depth product information, reviews and immediate feedback from social connections. However, in-aisle comparison shopping is just the tip of the iceberg.
The Future Isn’t Now, But It’s Soon
If you live in New York, you can now get a taste of the future of mobile payments at any Starbucks via the mobile Starbucks card app. After doing so since launch about a month ago, I put mobile payments in the same bucket as a DVR and RSS reader, you can live without it until you try it. Then life changes forever. Mobile payments are without a doubt a big part of our future. Starbucks will be the proof of concept for others as they roll out mobile payments globally over the next couple of years.
Combine the convenience and personal shopping assistance value of a connected mobile device with the growing self checkout trend at retail, and the future paints its own picture. We’ll see more stand alone apps like Aisle Buyer, and self checkout functionality being added to existing retail apps in the coming year. This should excite you both as both a marketer and as a consumer. Here’s a quick idea of how it works:
There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills
There are a number of companies vying for a piece of the mobile payments pie ranging from banks to technology companies. Apple and other mobile companies are betting on NFC (Near Field Communication), a contactless data connection between devices within four inches of each other. This technology will be standard in the next round of mobile devices. Payments can either be connected to your mobile account or processed through one of several mobile payment providers. Mobile self checkout via apps could use this functionality or bypass these mobile payment providers and use the merchant bank of the retailers’ choice, but potentially still make use of NFC for other aspects of the consumer experience. Either way, mobile payments are on the way. Of course, the pace of evolution is dependent on further smart phone penetration and a new round of phones (even non smart phones) with built in NFC technology in order for mobile payments to scale.
New Retail Technology Trifecta
Imagine a world where you can walk into a store, self checkout via mobile app, as you approach the store exit you bag your goods, swipe an NFC reader that scans your mobile receipt and works in conjunction with an an RFID reader that scans your bag for the corresponding RFID tags attached to all items or packaging to confirm that what you are walking out of the store with is in fact paid for. This reality is not more than 2 – 3 years away.
If you enjoyed this post, please consider adding a comment, subscribing to post updates via email or subscribing to the RSS feed. Thanks.