Out with the old and in with the new. Google has released version 2.0 of their Google Wallet service which allows a prepaid credit card of your choice to be stored in a completely secure environment. The prepaid card simply funds the purchase when a mobile payment is made. This system is an improvement over previous version 1.0 which needed card issuers to become involved in provisioning the payment cards to Google Wallet.
In terms of security Google has gone down a different path regarding their technical approach: the cards are now stored on Google’s impeccably secure servers instead of on the secure storage area provided in all smart phone devices. A virtual card number is still stored there to help facilitate the purchase. Google then charges your selected card immediately thereafter. This new version actually speeds up the integration process for banks, enabling them to add their cards to the Wallet in literally weeks. This new methodology may pave the way for a better solution to support all credit and debit cards.
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Google has also made it much easier to disable your mobile wallet in cases of theft or loss of the phone. With a simple visit to the “Devices” section in your online wallet you can find the phone that you want disabled and Google Wallet will then not authorize any transactions until you effectively change the settings.
The first important bit of news is that Apple’s foray into the mobile payments world will begin this fall with the release of their Passbook software. We mentioned two weeks ago that Passbook would be delayed, however it was recently announced that it would appear in their next iOS as an application.
The second bit of news concerns AuthenTec’s technology, which facilitates software for fingerprint/identity purposes. Apple has made an offer for $356 million dollars to purchase the sensor chip licenses from AuthenTec, which will presumably be used for fingerprint validation for mobile payments in the upcoming Passbook app.
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This is an obvious shot across the bow to Samsung and Google, who could very possibly counter-offer the bid made by Apple for ownership of Authentec. Any firm with reliable technology related to mobile payments will be courting big players like Apple and such in near future.
The NFC (near field communication) software and POS systems company ViVOtech is reported to be shutting down its operations, despite securing nearly $100 million in funding over the past ten years. However CEO Mick Mullagh says otherwise:
“ViVOtech’s business fundamentals are strong and orders and contracts are building in both its reader and software businesses. Over the last six months the company has been executing a strategy to divest its reader business to a qualified buyer. This sale has moved slower than anticipated. ViVOtech has not ceased operations but is in the process of restructuring operations and has reduced its team to a smaller group with the goals of maintaining customer relationship and core contract work, and to address our supplier relationships and commitments, as the company completes plans to divest the reader business and focus on the Software Business. ViVOtech is in dialog with its customers and suppliers on the current situation but will be making no other public statements”.
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ViVOtech develop POS systems and NFC products such as smart posters, contactless readers, writers, and various other software programs. They have also partnered with some of the biggest players in the industry like Google (Google Wallet) and Isis in an NFC joint venture between the largest US mobile companies Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.
This apparent closure comes as an unexpected turn of events, considering the staggering numbers (one million terminals shipped, 80% of the market share for NFC products in the US and double digit millions in sales) and the heavy weight brands that are using their array of products (McDonald’s, Whole Foods and Home Depot).
The questions raised on how this could have happened are abundant. The current consensus is that ViVOtech perhaps hit the market at a stage before NSF technology exceeded market expectations or that their partners VeriFone dropped the relationship in favor of pushing their own reader. Either way, one thing is for sure; the industry players are baffled by this unexpected news.
Context taken from: http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/27/report-google-nfc-partner-vivotech-shutting-down-operations/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
In an effort to further connect with consumers while they are shopping in-store, Aldo has launched an interactive gaming platform. The basic crux of the game is to allow shoppers to engage with the Aldo brand, remain in the store for a longer period of time, and offer a chance to win $500. It also supports Aldo’s current foray into mobile with the recent launch of a mobile commerce platform.
Dubbed ‘Shoe Paradise,” the game and mobile site was developed by Dynamo, a Quebec-based company specializing in digital media. Alex Nemeroff, Interactive Director at Dynamo, added “This in-store game was created to fulfill two goals, to extend the Shoe Paradise microsite concept to mobile customers and introduce an experience tailored to Aldo’s recently-launched mobile commerce site.”
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The game is being promoted through zoloftanxiety.com in-store signage, which includes a call-to-action for customers to visit www.aldosp.com on their mobile browser. Details on the game then follow, with a featured shoe from which users can earn rewards as directed by the app. In order to enter to win customers must play three different levels of the game, each one at a different Aldo location, with prizes including free gear.
This initiative further cements Aldo’s mobile presence and is an example of how technology and smart devices can play an important role in uplifting brick-and-mortar shopping experiences.
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!
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.
In a bold move to continue supporting a 360-degree ad campaign, Clinique UK is deploying improved reality platforms to enhance current print ads and help drive sales. They invited users to interact through print and out-of-home ads via smart devices during the month of March.
Teaming up with the enhanced reality Blippar application, which can be easily downloaded for iOS and Android platforms for free, the print ads come to life by creating an interactive version of the ad viewed directly on a user’s mobile device screen. By interacting with the advertisements users can view more detailed info on the showcased product and even make a purchase if so inclined.
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Jessica Butcher, founding partner and marketing director for Blippar, notes that print is a stagnant medium that needs to continue to evolve, “Print is, by its nature, old news as soon as it comes off a printing press, and this technology enables it to be used as a trigger for real-time information updates, a digital bridge to mobile Web pages, content downloads or interactive touch screen experiences. Augmented reality is simply one of the forms of content delivery that can be facilitated by this technology.”
This augmented reality platform goes even further by allowing users to connect with a store locator through GPS, view products and brand related videos, connect to Clinique’s mobile site and share comments and view threads via Facebook to see what other people are saying about the product.
This level of interaction brings new meaning and value to print advertising, and when tied into a relevant mobile campaign, a brand can reach higher levels of engagement and drive sales.
Foresee Results, an independent customer experience analytics firm, produces a 100-point study annually, measuring consumer experience across many types of retail platforms. Apple came in on top of their 2011 mobile shopping experience study with an 85 point score, followed closely by Amazon at 84 points. These high scores can be attributed to both company’s success at keeping their mobile sites as similar as possible to the standard website, both in terms of navigation, content and ergonomics.
Larry Freed, current president and CEO at Foresee Results, recognizes first-hand the rising trend in mobile commerce but also notes the challenges ahead. “There is a lot of room for improvement and there are a lot of complexities and variables with mobile commerce, from various operating systems to device and screen size,” he said. “It’s not as simple as the early days of the Web when everyone was building for Internet Explorer. Now you’ve got multiple OS’s, phones and tablets, and various screen sizes, all which affect the user experience. You need to apply the same concepts on mobile as you do on the Web, but it’s a very different platform.”
Navigation and functionality are at the heart of why some mobile shopping experiences fall short. It is the combination of driving device capable content, ease of use and high levels of security to turn mobile “spectators” into actual customers. Further, measuring usage habits and customer satisfaction closely will separate companies that truly want to maximize on this payment trend and those that may not realize the potential for mobile to become integrated into daily shopping habits of customers. According to Foresee Results, customers that are satisfied with their mobile shopping experience are 54% more likely to return to that very same mobile site and shop again.
Since customer perception and expectations for mobile experiences are largely based on traditional website navigation, functionality and content, companies need to recognize this link and increase efforts to tie-in both traditional and mobile site design.
On May 3rd, 2012 and hosted by Mobile Commerce Daily, industry leaders will converge at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City to discuss the rapidly growing market segment of mobile commerce. Guest speakers from Amazon, Zappos, Citi, Travelocity, GGP and Alon Brands will discuss various topics involving mobile strategy. The event targets many businesses that can benefit from developing an integrated approach to mobile, including; ad agencies, media placement firms, brands and retailers.
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The Mcommerce Summit has been designed to complement the growing portfolio of seminars currently hosted by Mobile Commerce Daily, including Mobile FirstLook and Mobile Marketing Summit, both recognized as leading conferences in the mobile field.
Limited to only 200 delegates, registration is now open at a cost of $495 for the day, which includes all meals and refreshments. Please visit www.mcommercesummit.com for more information and to register.