Espresso of Innovation: In-Store Evolution

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Hello and welcome to this week’s Espresso of Innovation: the hottest news and strongest stories from the world of creativity and technology filtered into a quick shot of inspiration. This week we’re discussing how retail can take back ground from retail.

The Payments Council said just last month that it believed mobile transactions would more than quadruple to1.5 billion a year by 2022 and US mobile payments are reportedly due to break$1bn this year. These fuss-free, speedy transactions are an important factor for bricks and mortar retailers to catch up to the ease of online shopping. Last week, the mobile payment discussion was once more brought to the fore with the launch of the new iPhone.

Some have lauded the iPhone 5S fingerprint sensor as “the Trojan Horse that will finally bring to fruition Apple’s long-awaited mobile payment plans.” Security was cited as the main barrier to the company facilitating the evolution of our in-store transactions and, given Apple fans’ image as trendsetters, the company’s hesitation has been a barrier to wider adoption by retailers. However, back in June,Apple quietly mentioned iBeacon, a remote payment device. While the iBeacon has thus far been sidelined in favour of bigger, consumer-focused announcements, the update to iOS7 and improved security has reignited interest and Apple is poised to make a big splash.

Apple are certainly not the only players in this segment though: PayPal is already the primary name in secure online payment services and moved to mobile with an app this summer. Last week they announcedtheir own beacon linked to this app, Beacon (yes, really). They also have a pilot scheme in Richmond, London, where users canpay for goods with their face.

The public will likely want the ease of one app that’s compatible with all beacons, so with e-payment innovations being announced in quick succession we could be seeing another VHS/Betamax style race to adoption. Google have been refining the Google Wallet since their acquisition of Motorola Mobility in 2011 and this week announced that they haveremoved NFC restrictions. As the Android platform hasmore users than Apple and Google has the benefit of integrating to ubiquitous Google Maps, Search and Offers, it is definitely a front runner.

As well as accepting payment for goods, beacon technology lets retailers alert consumers to in-store offers. To stop people being bombarded there is already a solution to junk alerts. ReelyActive has found a way to return an iBeacon transmission so your phone can tell stores what you really want. With the immense amount of data generated on smartphones it can tell a shop what you’re interested in buying and send a relevant offer.

Frictionless commerce is the way forward. Businesses across the world need to develop their mobile payment acceptance technology to be able to both communicate with customers and accept payment on their platform of choice. Retailers will only combat showrooming by combining the benefit of beacon offers; the ease of mobile payment; and the satisfaction of receiving a must-have item immediately.