Imagine it. You are sitting on the couch after a long day of work,
maybe enjoying a cold beer. The stress of the day still weighing heavy on your mind and in the not too distant future is the need to get up and cook dinner. Then on the TV comes an ad for a delicious wood fired pizza. You decide this is the answer instead of cooking or convincing someone else in the house to cook for you. With the wave of a hand, with the help of MasterCard and Xbox Kinect, the pizza is ordered and on its way. This is the possible vision for MasterCard.
At the launch for journalists of the new Google Wallet, MasterCard demonstrated what technology is now making possible. Sarah Kessler’s article ‘In MasterCard’s Future, You Can Buy Things by Waving at Your TV’ explains that by using the XBox, “to purchase a product on TV, users simply wave their hands at an icon in the corner of the screen. They can then select purchasing options like size and quantity with the same movements. After they check out, the receipt is sent to the QkR app.” According to MasterCard’s senior software designer, Stephen Elder, it doesn’t even need to be something that the commercial is actually selling. It can just link to other items like it or bring up helpful information to consumers.
It is just one in an assortment of new innovations to make using your wallet easier. Google Wallet itself is an interesting concept which is essentially ready to launch. It uses your Smartphone and QR Codes (for more info of QR Codes see last week’s post) to pay for everyday items at checkouts without money or cards. It also can store loyalty cards and discounts. Essentially it is looking to replay your actual leather wallet, with an app. However what never is far behind innovations in credit cards is the same question; convenient or dangerous?
However MasterCard is setting no timeline for this idea’s implementation. The prototype exists more to demonstrate what is possible and the commitment MasterCard has towards technology driven consumer convenience. However as Kessler points out, not only does consumer technology need to catch up, but broadcasters need to agree and work with MasterCard for this to become a reality. Broadcasters are not the only ones either, like any new to the world product or service, it also needs consumer acceptance. The idea of just waving at the TV is perhaps a little too far for some consumers as far as security and control over impulse shopping. Especially the fact that it needs to use Xbox technology after PlayStation 3 security breach which saw millions of users credit card privacy breached. Technology can move much faster than wide-spread consumer acceptance.
Which brings me to the statement on the Google Wallet
introductory website, “In the past few thousand years, the way we pay has changed just three times—from coins, to paper money, to plastic cards. Now we’re on the brink of the next big shift.” For this to be the case, consumer behaviour needs to change to see the phone as the
wallet. This is the aim their promotional activity such as this commercial using well known actor Jason Alexander and popular show Seinfeld. The commercial does not show you the product or how to use it, it demonstrates why consumers need it. The focus is to change attitudes and beliefs to in turn change consumers behaviour. In order to achieve this, Google needs employ awareness building communications such as this advertisement. According to Chaffey “generating awareness of need is conventionally achieved principally through mass media used in offline advertising” (Chaffey et al., 2009, p78). This is the road Google has taken with this television Seinfeild inspired ad. Even though the brand dominates the online world, they have decided to try and raise awareness with a widely appealing ad displayed in a mass media environment.
The capability exists in technology and enough people, especially in
Australia have smart-phones. However the perception of what a phone stands for needs to change. It already went from phone, to phone and personal organizer,then added camera and now to the concept of smart-phone. Some people even carry their wallet items in their smart-phone case. Is seeing the phone as a wallet and habitually using it as such the next step?
Chaffey, D, Ellis-Chadwick, F, Mayer, R, Johnston, K, 2009, Internet Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice, 4th edn, Pearson Education Limited, Essex.
Google Wallet 2011, ‘The Vision’, viewed 20 September 2011, http://www.google.com/wallet/vision.html
Kessler, S, 2011, ‘In MasterCard’s Future You Can Buy Things By Waving at Your TV’, Mashable, viewed 20 September 2011, http://mashable.com/2011/09/16/mastercard-xbox-kinect/