Making It Work All The Time
A little side hobby of mine is keeping track of the state of mobile payments technology. The future is going mobile, and soon the mobile device will be the primary device in which we interact with our data, and manage our financial transactions. it's already fast becoming our primary device for our online activity, so it is only a matter of time. Which brings me to the Starbucks App. The user experience of the app is as satisfying as drinking a hot cup of coffee on a chilly morning. It's simple, straight to the point, and works all the time. Let me say that again. It works all the time. I don't know how important this last piece of fact is. If an app works almost all the time, it's still not a great app. I hear so many people complain about the new Facebook app and for the most part, they're right. It works almost all the time, and for the few times when it doesn't can really be frustrating to the user and tarnish the pleasures of Facebook. Square is a great piece of technology, opening up a new channel for small and medium businesses to interact with their customers. Yet, the swipe of the credit card on the small little plastic card reader requires a very delicate balance of speed and force in order for the card to be read properly. I was sitting in a cab an extra five minutes because the card wouldn't be read properly through the dongle. The American Airlines app has a mobile boarding pass feature that allows you to get through the TSA checkpoint and boarding gate with your device. I've used it numerous times and the success rate is 50% at best. I know it's not a mobile payment technology, but worth mentioning because the concept is similar. Now, I've switched back to paper boarding passes. A staggering 73% of retail companies are planning an investment in mobile channels this year, with half moving into mobile commerce. Apple is getting a head start with its new Apple Store app that allows a customer to scan the product and pay for it with their own device and without ever having to interact with a retail employee. I haven't used it yet but I'll be sure to the next time I'm there. In these early stages of a growing technology, all of these companies are truly taking advantage of mobile to propel their business. But a crucial factor is in making it work, not most of the time, but all the time.