Freeosk – Why not automate the process of providing free samples at grocery stores? The Freeosk can be installed in a store for automatic dispensing of free samples. I can take or leave the need to have someone hand me a piece of a granola bar in a cup.
While it looks like a space saver, using the space to give samples AND provide a product display, the most interesting part of this kiosk is that shoppers scan their loyalty card to get their sample. This provides retailers an opportunity to figure out if the free samples are driving business and to whom. As an added bonus, maybe it would stop all the scofflaws from drinking more than their fair share of the free apple cider at my market! via Fast Company
Oyster – Applying the the strategy that Pandora, Spotify and Songza use for music, Oyster is offering a subscription based service for books. They have 100,000 ebooks; you have 9.99 a month and you can read all you wish. It’s great to see subscription based services on offer, but it’s yet another blow to bookstores and paper lovers everywhere. Now if we can just get a service like Whispersync on a subscription basis.
PayPal Beacon – Paypal recently released their homage to 2001: A Space Oddysey – the Paypal Beacon – to enable payments via bluetooth. I look forward to this type of disruption in payments. As a consumer, I hate carrying cash, and I’m interested in dumping cards as well. The best transaction is one where I didn’t even notice it happening, and geofenced solutions like these can make it happen.
As someone involved in retail point of service installations, I’ve seen the incredible effort involved in making systems work with payments. It’s difficult to break away from that complexity, but there are definitely moves afoot that indicate this complexity may be overcome. It’s wonderful that the likes of Paypal and Google Wallet have new apps that are branching out of their traditional areas to enable payments from the consumer end. From the retailer end, organizations like my employer (NCR), are providing options with solutions like our connected payments solution to simplify the back end challenges.
While it doesn’t appear that cash is disappearing anytime soon, retail is all about choice. If you want to pay with cash, you should be able to do so. If you want to pay with debit or credit, that should be easy for retailers to implement and for customers to use. We aren’t there yet, but it does look like there is finally some progress to enable the transactions of tomorrow.