Mirroring the introduction long ago of magnetic stripe technology to point-of-sale systems, the payments industry is now experiencing another important evolution; the dawn of mobile smart devices and our hyper-connected world by virtue of the Internet.
Leading theory on the future of POS is predicting it to become the second revolution in mobile technology, an all-encompassing integration with day-to-day merchant needs. From lowering transaction fees to accepting all sorts of payment types, monitoring and bookkeeping, the future role POS systems will play will be under tremendous scrutiny and importance. Future success will largely be dictated by the emerging technologies launching today.
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Key factors that will shape the POS of tomorrow:
– Mobile: the next 12 months will witness the proliferation and rise of mobile as a permanent fixture as payment method. Smartphone usage rates are growing exponentially, and the creation of many focused offshoot technology companies is helping pave the way for future payment platforms.
– Security and progression to EMV: With any rapid technological advancement (especially one that handles sensitive personal payment information) security becomes an important issue. The handling and integrity of payment information will be a hot topic with policymakers and governing bodies. Furthermore it is stated that all American-based merchants will need to adopt EMV-capable POS systems by the year 2015.
– Contactless Payments: NFC is driving this trend…but will it only remain a trend? As mobile smart devices become go-to daily habits for consumers, technology like NFC could take a permanent place.
– New Technology: Innovation begats new technological advancement, but certain companies in the traditional payment industry may find it hard to deviate from the well-beaten path. Payment goliath VeriFone made a huge leap for their business by acquiring global outdoor advertising network Clear Channel Outdoors Inc, and will introduce a promotional platform to integrate with POS and payment systems.
Balance for the future of POS will lie between two paradigms: 1) the desire to enhance current systems for ease of use, or 2) to solve existing problems. The latter idea is more reactive by nature and may not be sufficient in being innovative, but nonetheless it will be interesting to see how the payment industry continues to evolve in the years to come.
Strangeloop, an interesting value-add website optimizer for high volume e-merchants, reduces web page load times in order to drive more turnover and consequently increase transactions.
Located on the landing page of Strangeloop.com, visitors can toggle a slider and position it at a specific level of monthly sales revenue. As a result, the application highlights how the optimizer can directly correlate to added revenue simply by increasing page load times.
The results are staggering.
Large multinational corporations such as Visa, Sodexo, Petco and Auto Anything have already turned to Strangeloop’s intuitive site optimizer for both Web and mobile sites. Using an “advanced set of acceleration treatments,” Strangeloop streamlines and simplifies web pages in real-time by customizing them to the unique parameters of each browsing platform.
Not an out-of-the-box standardized liquid ciali software platform by any means, Strangeloop prides itself on customization and boasts that the technology is more than a one-size-fits-all approach. Considered a tailored experience mechanism, the optimizer allows for monitoring and modification of page loads based on web traffic of a specific moment, ever changing to the usage trends and needs of a given website at specific times. The site optimizer also builds in a clever tracking mechanism to predict a given users’ viewing patterns to pre-load pages and create an illusion of faster load times.
Offered as both an appliance to a company’s own datacenter or as a cloud-based service, Strangeloop can work with any IT infrastructure currently in place and lead to increased conversion rates, higher revenues, improved search engine results and most importantly, happier customers!
A recent report published by Cellit has home noted that retailers are seeing high success rates and ROI from targeted SMS campaigns that continue to drive new in-store traffic and mobile commerce. An expansive review of 1,180 campaigns was developed and sent by national large-scale retailers, and Cellit focused in on how SMS was being used to drive sales, retain SMS subscribers, and consequently grow contact information databases.
The key result found by Cellit was that when used properly to engage versus disrupt user’s daily life, SMS produced positive results six to eight times that of traditional e-mail marketing send-outs when comparing data collection, brand awareness and redemption factors. David Wachs, Senior Vice President of Mobile and General Manager at Cellit, had this to add; ““With eight times the response rate of email, mobile marketing is too powerful to pass up”.
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Furthermore, retailers have tuned into customers perception of intrusion and have begun implementing preference selection tools to ensure customers are receiving information of only personal interest.
Cellit was acquired earlier this year by digital engagement agency ePrize.
U.S. Bank and Plastic Jungle Inc. have partnered to change the game on how balances of closed-loop gift cards can be used and treated as currency. This latest initiative has been launched to allow the ability for gift cardholders to transfer balances into credit card reward points.
Essentially, the initiative allows FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature cardholders to swap Plastic Jungle gift card balances for FlexPoints, a program that is among the most used within U.S. Bank services. FlexPoints can be redeemed towards airline tickets, car rentals, charitable donations home and other consumer products.
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By simply visiting the FlexPerks Visa Promotion Centre online, cardholders can log-in to their account, enter gift card details and have them converted by Plastic Jungle into FlexPoints. The number of points largely depends on the popularity and usability of a given gift card and not a standardized calculation.
Plastic Jungle’s core business is to provide solutions to customers by allowing the transfer or exchange of outdated and unused gift cards into something more suitable and usable. This initiative is a natural progression to integrating Plastic Jungle services with complementary businesses such as Visa.
Recently launched at the WIMA show in Monaco, Nokia has put NFC at the forefront of this latest Windows 7.6 Mango edition of the Lumia handset series.
The phone will be initially launched by Orange and already is certified by Visa and Mastercard for contactless payments, supports NFC tag reading and writing, peer-to-peer pairing, and card emulation modes.
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According to Ilari Nurmi, Nokia’s head of smart device product marketing, NFC will be included in all future releases: “we’re bringing NFC right across our portfolio, and together with our ever-growing range of NFC accessories we’re making it easy for people to connect via a single tap. We’re also enabling operators and other service providers to build NFC payment and ticketing solutions on this site top of our smartphones.”
Look for the overseas launch sometime in late 2012 and checkout this video for more info.
Recognized major US department store Macy’s has recently launched a new mobile campaign highlighting its latest spring 2012 product collections at rock bottom prices.
The initiative has been launched through Us Magazine’s mobile site, and aims to get attention from Macy’s on-the-go customers and to drive a new direct to consumer discount channel.
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Mobile ads are placed in favorable locations at the top of the Us Magazine’s mobile site landing page, demonstrating a clear call-to-action for consumers to click through to another mobile site showcasing Macy’s “Spring Spectacular” sildenafil pills sale items. Users can also browse the retailers’ entire product inventory and benefit from free shipping.
Not a newcomer to mobile ad campaigns, Macy’s sees this component as crucial to move sales in new directions and continue to develop their mobile component. Having already launched augmented reality platforms to SMS marketing, Macy’s has tapped into the emerging mobile space in a big way.