2013.08 | SBUX Video | PayPal Here

IMAG3999-Taking-my-order-at-the-Burien-DT-Starbucks-photo-taken-from-passenger-seat-on-17-Feb-2013Starbucks video drive thru – Starbucks has been quietly piloting video drive thru at some Washington and Nevada sites according to StarbucksMelody.com.  I’ve seen these sorts of video interfaces tried for years with various retail solutions, but they never caught on.  Perhaps we’ve moved past the trough of disillusionment for video interfaces for service.

Given the growing mainstream use of services such as Skype,  Facetime,  Facebook Video Calling and Google Video chat, both consumers and store staff will be more comfortable with the technology and the associated etiquette of using it.

What will be most interesting to understand is the value that can be driven.  Will video chat improve order fidelity, increase upsell, provide improved customer service, strengthen the brand, provide an improved customer experience  reduce costs, or any combination of these?  As always, that value will vary by retailer, their objectives and how the solution is used.  I would be very interested to see some data on the usage compared to the speaker only solution.

Now we just have to figure out how I can visit the drive thru with my reusable tumbler and not hold up the line by handing it in at the pickup window.

CapturePayPal Here– Paypal recently unveiled a mobile payments solution for Europe that is EMV compliant using a separate bluetooth pinpad.  For those of us in the retail world that work within an EMV system, this is welcome news.  While there are many solutions that offer mobile payments using a dongle, and even some that have a case for an iPhone with a built in pinpad,  neither have been a hit in Canada.

PayPal is offering a separate hardware pinpad that connects to a mobile device via bluetooth.  To the US market this may appear to be a less streamlined solution than sticking a dongle into a headphone jack and just swiping an MSR, the separate pinpad idea has its own merits.

  • Consumer Comfort – In places like Canada and Europe, consumers are highly conditioned to inserting their card into a separate device and entering their PIN.  Leveraging this common experience provides a simple segue to using a newer service.
  • Security Perception – From my own perspective, I’m not quite ready to watch someone scan my credit card directly into their personal mobile device.  While a case with a pinpad on the back is essentially identical to this solution, using a separate wireless device provides a helpful psychological division.  I’m not sticking my card in someone’s iPhone, I’m sticking it into a pinpad like I do every day, and this one has the logo of a major payments processor.
  • Reduced Potential for Breakage  – One of my biggest concerns with mobile experiences is handing a mobile device back and forth.  Whenever anyone is moving or passing a mobile device, there is a chance it will be dropped.   Based on the proliferation of ridiculously ugly cases on smartphones on the street, I”m not alone on that concern.   Having a separate device means it can be mounted on a cart.  Consumers can also insert their own EMV card.  The idea has always been to minimize the hands touching credit cards to minimize risk.  Whenever the cashier picks up a device to had a customer, they invariably hold out their hand for your card, insert it, and hand it to you.  This will always be the case with a single device.
  • Security – This can go either way.  EMV is much more secure and convenient for retailers to use than signatures.  Having a second device means someone could steal it without the cashier noticing for some time.  A unit physically attached is less likely to have this issue.
  • Ease of Use – I’d like to see a slightly larger interface than what fits on an iPhone screen.  Bigger buttons and information make the unit simpler to use.  A seperate device can enable that.

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