First, the check was the safer way to pay than cash. Then, the debit card was the quicker way to pay than the check. Now, Google, Square, and other companies are working to make your cell phone the quicker way to pay, eliminating the need to carry a wallet at all.
Man, I just geek out when cool technology like this actually comes together and makes sense. Check out how it works:
First, you store all your credit, debit and loyalty card information into the Google Wallet App (or the Square App). Then, as you are walking to the store, you’ll open the app, tell it what you want, and the cashier will scan your phone to complete the transaction. The back end is handled by Google or Square, without the cost of a third-party card transaction company. Right now, Google Wallet is accepted at 25 national merchants such as Macy’s, and Square just struck a deal to handle all Starbucks transactions across the globe. Eventually, the goal with the Square/Starbucks partnership is that you won’t need a phone at all—just get the app set up, walk in and show your face, and Starbucks will do the rest.
So, Square and Google want our cell phones to replace the need for physical credit cards. But as marketers, why should we care?
At our most recent Spotlight meeting, Media Supervisor Ashley Baker shared with the agency some interesting research about consumers’ media use in the Greater Louisville area. According to her numbers, only 38% of the Derby City currently uses a SmartPhone to access the Internet. It’s kind of mind boggling to think that (despite my own constant tapping, swiping and browsing of my iPhone) all of CurrentMarketing’s awesome mobile sites and apps are still only accessible to that small portion of our city. News like this from Google and Square gives a little more incentive for late adopters to incorporate a SmartPhone into their lives. And that means more eyes on our handiwork!