Geeks With Blogs
Scott Cairney About e-commerce

Just the other day Apple announced the iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch.  I must admit to a personal interest in the hardware, coolness factor and the sleekness of the presentation.  While I would love to delve into that area, the Internet is already saturated with positive, negative and humorous feedback.   I do however feel that one area hasn’t been covered, at least to the depth I feel it deserves.  I think the implications these new products raise in the world of on-line commerce are very interesting. 


Near Field Communication or NFC has been around for some time.  Even my discount Nexus 7 tablet has the capability and it’s quite possible that the device you are reading this article on has the capability.  But have you ever used it?  In one move, Apple has given credibility to payment from the device.   Now at first glance this looks like a geeky way to achieve the same thing we can do, at lest in Canada with most credit cards by just hovering them over reader.  But this is not just about convenience for the customer and reduced friction for the merchant.  I see the value in security, for everyone.  The technology underlying the hardware makes it possible for the transaction to occur not with the actual credit card number but rather with a number generated specifically for the transaction.  This could be very powerful for consumer confidence but vital for merchants who have been experiencing increased costs to protect consumer privacy.   It’s not surprising to me the name brand companies Apple has been able to partner with.  This will absolutely change the layout of our wallets over the next few years.


Beyond the NFC tie to in-person payments my mind also wonders to the potential of using passbook-stored cards to directly make payments on-line.  This could very powerful and similarly not just as a friction reducer at checkout but also in terms of security.   It will be interesting to see the standards that emerge in this area and how Google and Microsoft respond to what I anticipate to be some significant demand from customers.


Beyond the payment, the increased size and performance of the phone device will also bring changes.  I believe the size growth is substantial enough to force changes to the mobile experiences merchants deliver to devices.  Responsive sites typically create stops for mobile devices, tablets then desktop/laptop and there has been some movement around expanding the mobile stop mainly due to the larger Samsung devices, now with the flagship mobile device taking on a new size I would expect to see not only an evolution of the mobile screen size but the amount, richness and format of content that is displayed to the mobile device. 


Now, I can’t close out this blog without mentioning the Apple Watch.  I’ve looked at the documentation and pictures and I’m sure we’ll see lots of people wearing it in the coming months, but honestly I’ve had trouble identifying how it will change our behaviors over the next few years.  During the announcement I thought how great it would be as a tie to beacons, both for tracking and sending notifications but when I heard you needed to be carrying your phone for it to work the value declined.  I can already track your phone or send notifications there.  Maybe the value will be in tracking your pulse, and using analytics to determine what products you are more likely to purchase.   Also, watch choice is very personal and is a great indicator of your brain dominance, for example a more analytical person has a different watch than a more interpersonal person.  Maybe this information can augment the analytical mix in predicting preferences but right now that does seem like a bit of a stretch.  Maybe you have thoughts as to how the Apple Watch will affect commerce over the next few years?


Posted on Friday, September 19, 2014 9:02 AM e-commerce , payment | Back to top

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