Apple, Amazon, & Google Own Your Wallet
Commerce is changing. In a few years the method in which you purchase anything is going to change. If you own a business that only accepts cash then you will likely perish. If you own a brick-and-mortar business and do not have a website, you will perish. Money will not be carried in a pocket and transferred between individuals by handing over tangible dollars (It is a rare occurrence that I actually do this now. Until recently, I had not used cash in about a decade. I did not know an ATM pin number. The only reason I did learn a pin number and use cash was because I was in an area of the country that the most convenient shops in which I needed to shop only took cash. Luckily, this was only for a few months.), and credit cards will not be swiped, but a transfer of funds will occur between the business establishment and the customer’s smartphone.
You may think that I am kidding, but this future is not that far away. Google was/has been playing with Google Wallet, Apple’s iOS 6 offers PassBook (a means of managing coupons, tickets, and gift cards), Square allows you to pay via smartphone, Home Depot allows you to pay via PayPal at the register, and Walmart is currently testing a method of shopper scanning – a method that allows customers to scan the items they put in their carts with their smartphones providing an itemized list with total and allowing the customer to pay at the register (surely this will soon be pay via smartphone as well, just do away with the register all together).
Of course, you cannot forget Amazon and their variations of the mobile storefront or should I say e-reader/tablet. Much like Apple with the iPad, the App Store, and iTunes, Amazon takes their method of mobile commerce a step further by allowing you to shop for anything on the Kindle via Amazon (the mere nature of their business), and receive free shipping via Amazon Prime (plus you get the added perk of being able to stream free movies and tv shows with your Prime subscription which comes at a nominal annual fee). These companies are taking mobile commerce to a new level, not just purchasing online and then waiting for delivery, they are moving m-commerce right into the brick-and-mortar storefront. Think of it this way: you see an ad for something (this could be on tv, on the metro, a billboard), you want to purchase it, you take out your smartphone or tablet, look for it online, purchase it, and either have it delivered to your house – or- choose to pick it up at a local store where it is currently available. Another option is for a shopper to see an item in your store in which they want to purchase, search for it online, while in your store, purchase it on their smartphone, and leave your store to go pick it up.
We watched the slow and painful death of Circuit City and Borders. Barnes and Noble and Best Buy are now feeling the pain. With the prevalence of smartphones and the ease of access to the Internet, brick-and-mortar shops that do not provide a speciality product are nothing more than an online distribution center. E-Commerce is the past, and M-Commerce is reshaping retail.
- Barclaycard US Supports Google Wallet (virtual-strategy.com)
- Hey Google, What’s in your Wallet? (digitalsurgeons.com)