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Google Wallet – arrival of a new revolution

The opening topic has to be the recent announcement by Google of its plans for the Google Wallet – a system designed to make it simple and easy to purchase goods, earn rewards and get instant discounts via your smartphone.  At this stage it’s in field testing but is expected to be released this summer in the US. This is the next stage for methods of payment, after thousands of years of coins to paper and then plastic. It will open up a whole new field of discount and loyalty schemes - potentially rocking the market for the likes of Groupon especially when you couple this with Google’s new Google Offer.

It’s an exciting time but there’s trouble on the horizon with PayPal having slapped a lawsuit on Google for trading on misappropriated secrets from PayPal’s mobile-payment business. Another exciting digital story unfolds. Whatever happens with the lawsuit, this technology has been here for some time and so it’s here to stay. It’s who is going to make it work as the next big thing that will influence the retail landscape.

So what is the Google Wallet all about?  Firstly it’s a heavy weight collaboration between Google, MasterCard, Citi, First Data and Sprint - and will influence the future multi-channel consumer experience. With the coming of age of the digital natives and their disposal income, this technology is likely to go from strength to strength. With simple point-of sale purchase estimated to half the time spent buying low cost items, this technology is estimated to increase sales by up to 25% of these products. But this new system is not just a gimmick about having your credit card in your phone - oh it’s so much more. Let’s just chuck in a loyalty card – that you always forget - and discount service, as well as simply a way of accessing additional proactive information without the normal palaver of typing it into your phone.

The technology could be used for a number of different sales/marketing techniques helping make it easier to order, purchase and find out about a product. You will have the ability to touch items to see additional information, reserve or pay for them on the spot. It could also store tickets, loyalty cards, gift cards, coupons or anything you would normally carry in your wallet. Coupled with Google Offers giving you lists of items on sale in an area, bringing up the items’ website or directing you to the nearest shop. The implications for local area discounts and loyalty schemes are endless. And then there are all the new and wonderful ideas that will come to light once it goes on release later in the summer in the New York and San Francisco - with roll out across the US later in the year.

Below are a list of just a few of the services the Google Wallet and related technology will bring.

  •     Shopping, product comparison, and tools
  •     Payment and card services
  •     Promotions and couponing
  •     Loyalty and customer services
  •     Tickets, passes, and event integration Gift cards and coupons
  •     A simple method of financial management - though this will depend on the customer ownership

This is just the start. You can be sure that it will spawn a plethora of new marketing techniques with the normal gusto that everything in digital does. So watch this space - for the advent of the near-field communications technology (NFC) is just about to come of age.


Nathan Mayatt is the Head of FreshMinds Talent Interim team.