Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

Mo Money In Mobile?

June 7th, 2011

Have you ever thought about how awkward first dates really are? You barely know the person, probably are going to be short for questions and comments, and chances are you are extremely nervous because you want to make a good impression. But we’ve all been there and gone to dinner with that guy from the accounting department or the girl from the coffee shop. I’m also sure we’ve all had to deal with the utter shock and dismay when you reach to offer to pay for the bill and the only thing in your back pocket is a note from your mother asking you to turn the lights off when you get home. You’ve just successfully eliminated all chances of a second date. Imagine how much perspiration would be saved if you could just pay for the meal with your cell phone. You would never “forget your wallet” again as your mobile device is likely glued to your left hand. Lucky for all you first daters, this is actually going to be a possibility. Lucky for the marketers, mobile payment systems are a whole new space to explore and new technology to utilize.

Google Mobile Wallet

Google has announced their NFC- based Google Wallet, which is a mobile payment system designed to allow users to pay for retail items with their phone just by tapping. Google has teamed up with giants such as Subway, Macy’s and MasterCard. The partnership with MasterCard in particular will allow Google Wallet users to pay at any PayPass contactless system already installed. Payment isn’t the only draw to this wallet; by tapping at locations consumers would receive offers and promotions directly to their mobile device otherwise known as Google Offers. While trials are underway in NYC and San Francisco, Google is hoping for a full release this summer. We can only imagine what’s next: boarding passes, SIN cards, gametes. Regardless what it is, I’m sure Google will make it happen.

Visa PayWave

Visa developed this contactless card to compete with MasterCard’s PayPass but has not teamed up with DeviceFidelity to apply a mobile twist. They applied the smart chip technology from the card into mobile devices so that users just need to select the icon and wave their device over the payment system. Their pilot project is taking place in LA and New York transit systems including taxis. Their objective is making Visa usage more efficient and secure while eliminating cash handling for transit operators. Furthermore, it saves transit riders from scavenging the streets for those additional pennies to make the accurate change to ride the rail.

 

Apple + Square

As Google Mobile Wallet and Visa Pay Wave are in the process of creating more efficient processing systems, Apple and others are keeping it creative with a temporary solution, Square.  This nifty device was developed to ease online payments for consumers purchasing with their iPad or iPhone or other mobile device. Merchants develop an account for a small few and users just buy the device for $10 allowing quick and easy credit card payments on-the-go. By pairing this with location based services, consumers will be able to walk by a retail store, receive an offer that blows them away and pay for it all through their handheld mobile device. Talk about handy.

Mobile payment systems not only make shopping easier for customers but more efficient and productive for merchants as transactions will be faster, safer and less fraudulent. Furthermore, it is developing a whole new customer experience as its cool, unique and fun to be spending money.  Google Mobile Wallet has broken ground with this technology and has created a space, which allows for almost anything to go mobile. As marketers, there are opportunities to target these customers into retail locations that are housing the contactless payment systems and offering them deals. Now that we know where payment systems are headed, you better go trade in your best goat for the newest iPhone.

Facebook + Apple: Masters of the Location Universe?

November 4th, 2010

Yesterday, Facebook along with more than 20 retail partners, including Gap, H&M, Lululemon, McDonalds’s, Starbucks and the San Francisco 49ers, announced a Facebook Deals component to augment their Places location-based service.

The move could bring a slew of new local and small business advertisers to the social network.  With more than 500 million users already, Deals could be the driver that brings location-based services to the masses.  And it’s needed – a study, also released yesterday by Pew Research indicates that only 4% of online adults use a location service like Foursquare or Gowalla.

The Deals service lets merchants push deals to their existing customers and attract new ones, according to Tim Kendall, Facebook’s director of monetization.

When users launch Facebook Places, they will see a listing of nearby venues, some which will have special icons indicating deals. They can pull up the deal, and with two clicks, they can claim it. When they go to the store or restaurant later, they can show the staff their Facebook app to redeem the deal.

The most interesting part of this announcement is that Facebook isn’t taking a cut of revenue for these discounts, posing a challenge to smaller competitors that use deal revenue as part of their business model. On a business’ Places page, they can set up an offer. There are four kinds:

  • Individual deals, which reward a customer if they check-in once.
  • Loyalty deals, which reward customers for a certain number of purchases or check-ins.
  • Friend deals, which reward customers if they bring in extra friends.
  • Charity deals, which allow businesses to donate to charity for every check-in they attract.

The Deals announcement is not however without speculation towards the future.

When Facebook called this press conference, much of the speculation was that they were going to announce their own phone – as referenced by TechCrunch in September.   That didn’t happen.  Instead, it appears that Apple and Facebook are getting closer and closer.

Could Apple be looking to buy Facebook?

Imagine if Facebook users suddenly all had iTunes and FaceTime accounts, giving Apple unquestioned dominance in online music and video chat. Apple and Facebook aren’t currently competing in any realm, but both are competing with Google, and there’s no love lost between Apple and Google.

Additionally, there’s significant synergy. The Facebook app for iPhone has been estimated to be one of the most used apps on the iPhone, with over 100 million active monthly users. One source, David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect, claims that more than half of all usage of the iPhone of apps, other than those provided by the phone itself like telephony and email, is coming from Facebook.”

Apple has some $51 Billion in the bank meaning that they could afford to buy the social networking giant when it goes public.

Steve Jobs on a recent earnings call said “We strongly believe that one or more very strategic opportunities may come along, that we are in a unique position to take advantage of because of our strong cash position…And so I think that we’d like to continue to keep our powder dry, because we do feel that there are one or more strategic opportunities in the future. That’s the biggest reason.”

Perhaps the most important synergy is in the area of patents.  Facebook has been thinking about location for years and was recently granted a wide-reaching patent that could wipe newcomers off the social networking map.

Bnet, which broke the story, says the patent covers “a method of sharing locations of users participating in a social networking service at a geographic location” and the location is found using a “GPS Identifier”.

Similarly, Apple is hot on the patent bandwagon, in particular around NFC and location-based advertising.

Their recent patent application for “System and method for providing contextual advertisements according to dynamic pricing scheme” indicates.

Apple describes a mobile ad system that will work on your iPhone, iPod or iPad, and provide ads based on various direct or indirect marketing preferences through a “Local ad” app.  The owner of the network you are connected to at the time serves the ads.

A shopping mall owner, airport operator, or anyone else, providing Wi-Fi access, can serve ads from local merchants; wireless carrier can offer local ads, triggered by a location data from a base station or your GPS sensor, and search keywords you just entered in a search app, etc.

The combination of these two companies could indeed make them masters of the location-based universe.