In my role here at VeriFone I see and hear about all sorts of crazy payment ideas. As highlighted in this article from Mobile Commerce Daily, one payment technology that isn’t so crazy is the utilization of bar codes. Sure some of the static number bar codes schemes have some security limitations. And, sure the technology isn’t very sexy, but at the end of the day, bar code technology can be, and has been used very successfully for the purposes of transacting payments. To this end, just this past Monday Apple unveiled their Passbook App, which appears to be a wallet of sorts to collect bar code based tickets, coupons, etc.
As pointed out in the Mobile Commerce Daily article, bar code solutions are generally less complex and therefore less expensive to implement than NFC solutions and they also benefit from the proliferation of smart phones and the broad utilization of bar codes and QR codes through the mainstream media.
That said, more interesting to me is the marriage of Mobile to Mobile Commerce (M2C) and the transition from payment terminal to Multipurpose Consumer Payment Solutions. To answer the collective “What is he talking about?” question, I will explain.
Mobile to Mobile Commerce (M2C) – The ability to complete a retail transaction by the utilization of two mobile devices. To explain the scenario real quick, let’s say that you are in your favorite clothing store and are working with an employee to select a few items. At that point instead of going back to a counter, the retail employee pulls out an iPod touch® paired up with a VeriFone PAYware Mobile Enterprise device. The employee scans the items using the embedded bar code scanner and then scans the combo loyalty / payment number as presented by the consumer’s smart phone. The store system immediately identifies the consumer as a loyal customer and matches that person to their preferred payment vehicle in the cloud. Then loyalty points are accrued and the payment is facilitated in the cloud. At that point the transaction is complete and the consumer gets an email with their receipt.
So let’s compare the benefits. The benefits as described in the article–low complexity, low cost, meets lowest common consumer denominators (smart phone)–are interesting reasons as to why the technology is being explored, but in the scenario above we get to the meat of the benefits of adopting a new technology:
- Better and Faster Customer Service
- Facilitation of On-The-Spot Loyalty Identification
- Elimination of Credit Card Numbers from the In-Store System
- and Elimination of Employees Handling Cards
Further, as the consumer is always first in the checkout line in this scenario, there would be a significant reduction in abandon sales due to walk offs.
In my next post we will explore Multipurpose Consumer Payment Solutions, yet another way to more richly interact with your customers.