When new technology gets launched we always think about how it will replace existing technology. Take Near Field Communication (NFC) chips for example and the replacement of bank cards by mobile phones with NFC chips.
How will that work?
Well, you walk around the shop, pick up the items you want to purchase, go to the cashier, they scan the items and the till totals it up. You take out your phone and tap it on the Barclaycard branded NFC terminal and the transaction is completed.
That’s always what happens when we think of a new piece of technology replacing an older piece of technology, we think too much about replacement. And then obviously you start wondering why this new piece of technology would be better or more convenient than the older one. I mean, those cards work pretty well, don’t they? They’re small, ubiquitous and I can use them anyplace, anytime. So why replace it, what’s the added value of the new technology? Next thing you know, NFC gets bogged down and all we are hearing now is that maybe that mobile payment stuff is over hyped.
So, here’s how it will work.
Whilst you’re having a tall double blended mint mocha chip Frappuccino at your local Starbucks – which was ready and waiting for you as you had already pre-booked it using the Starbucks app by the way – an alert pops up on your phone telling you about a great sale on that pair of shorts you were looking for. You finish your cuppa and walk around to the shop. You spot the item you like, tap your phone against it, pull up the reviews about it from your Facebook friends and a number of independent reviews. You see that the price of the item in the shop compares pretty well with other stores and, hold on; you’re getting a 20% discount if you purchase a matching pair of socks. You click on Buy-It-Now, go and find the socks, tap your phone against the item and click on Buy-It-Now again. You walk out the shop with the brand new items in hand.
So what have we achieved here, a replacement of a card by a phone? No, we applied new technology to achieve a new and enhanced customer experience. No more dreaded waiting times at the tills during the New Year sales, how about that for convenience!
And what’s happened to the shop assistant? Well, they became a sales consultant, and yes, they will still wrap those socks for you because that’s well worth waiting for.