It has been a long week in New York City at NRF2014. As much as I enjoyed traveling back to one of the greatest cities in the world, walking the largest trade show floor that I have ever walked (multiple times, I might add), and spending time with customers and vendors, I am happy to say I am on my way back home. The show was a great success and you can find our recap of the items we saw there on our YouTube channel.
As I fly home and think back to our 3 days at the show and our webinar this past week, the biggest thing that continues to stick out in my mind is the absence of a consumer based mobile payment solution. Of course there were dozens of applications using small tablets to take payments in the retail space displayed at the show but only one vendor who showed anything using the consumer’s mobile device.
ISIS was one of few companies I could find at NRF 2014 offering true mobile payment technology. Even ISIS had some flaws, as its technology requires Near Field Communications (NFC) to transmit the information. Many popular devices do not yet have this technology available (read: iPhone), though some retailers are starting to test Apple’s NFC technology in stores, and ISIS actually has a specific case that can be used with the iPhone to utilize their NFC technology. I have been predicting for some time now that someone would come along and provide the ability to pay for your guest check via an app on your cell phone. Most people are familiar with Starbucks and the ability to pay for orders using the pre-paid gift card option on the company’s mobile app. That model is a good start, and it obviously is working great for them, but I am still looking forward to an app that allows you to pay for your food when you consume it and can be used at any number of restaurants or stores. This app could and should be tied to my bank account or credit card similar to the way Pay Pal pulls straight from my checking account. Even in the Google booth and NRF—which touted the Google Wallet for so long—two Google representatives said that they have an API to write your own app but no one is really pioneering the retail market with this technology.
If you watched our webinar this week, you heard Gary talk about the fact that we were visiting with a vendor after the webinar called MyCheck (If you didn’t watch our webinar this week, you really missed out! But you can join us for our next webinar here.) We visited two Positouch customers utilizing MyCheck technology and the app was doing exactly as I predicted. Customers are able to use the app to pay for their meal or coffee with little fuss or involvement of the server. We visited a counter service and a full-service location using the MyCheck app. We asked managers and servers what they thought of the technology and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Guests are adopting the technology to quickly pay their bill, allowing the servers to turn tables faster. The app gives the server flexibility to quickly add and drop items, and split bills without having to make 5 trips to the table back to the server station. Those using the MyCheck app have also been tipping better one server noted.
Is the MyCheck app the future? I don’t know. I do know, however, that the technology pioneered by MyCheck will make a big impact on how consumers make transactions in the future. There are still too many questions that need to be answered before we will really be able to tell if customers will adopt technology like this on a grand scale, but we will be sure to continue to update you as we learn more. But for now, I’m going to recline my seat and look forward to getting back home to family and friends!
Would you be willing to ditch your cash and plastic for a mobile payment solution? Let us know in the comments!