It’s finally happening. The payments industry has finally reached a point where it is clearly advanced enough to tailor payments to very specific actions, or rather, appliances. What started out with Amazon’s Dash button, which allows consumers to hit the said button that automatically orders household products such as laundry detergent and Gillette razor blades, has now evolved to cater not only to specific products, but actually specific areas of the house.
Pay as you fridge
At the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show, MasterCard introduced ‘Groceries by MasterCard’, a new app which enables consumers to order groceries directly from Samsung’s new Family Hub refrigerator.
The app was developed in partnership between MasterCard Labs and Samsung and will come preloaded in the Samsung fridge. At launch, consumers will be able to shop and select their needed items. Items are added to a cart and the final shopping list is approved with a 4-digit pin, providing control over household purchases. The products are then paid for in a single checkout experience that accepts any U.S.-issued credit and debit cards. Orders are delivered directly by the merchants and are not dependent on a third-party or concierge service, making shopping more efficient.
The Internet of Things
Interestingly, MasterCard says that the fridge will learn the user’s shopping habits and proceed to make personalised suggestions.
“In a world where every device – from the phone to the refrigerator – is connected to the Internet, the ways in which consumers interact and transact with their favorite brands are changing,” said Betty DeVita, Chief Commercial Officer, MasterCard Labs.
“We’re developing compelling, safe and seamless commerce experiences for consumers across channels and devices as we continue to eliminate the boundaries between how we shop and how we pay,” she added.
In addition, MasterCard has developed an accompanying mobile app for Groceries, which allows multiple members of a family to add to a single cart from a device of their choice. At home, consumers can also use the mobile app to scan barcodes on products for easy additions to the online shopping cart.
“Just as Family Hub changes the way we interact with our fridge, the new Groceries app will change how consumers shop,” said John Herrington, Senior Vice President, General Manager of Home Appliances, Samsung Electronics America.
The Fridge will become available in the US in May.
As mentioned earlier, we had the Dash and this MasterCard/Samsung partnership appears to be a more sophisticated version of that – integrating payments into people’s spheres of activity that traditionally remained payment free.
Could 2016 be the year when rather than just having wallets/mobiles/cards as the main conduits of payment, we can pay for specific items/services in relevant places. For example, how long will it be before a car will have the capability to order and pay for a repair service/tyre replacement etc?
Last year, Samsung pushed payments into your living room with Samsung Pay TV, which introduced a new way for consumers to pay for entertainment media directly through their TV sets.
Clearly the South Korean company is trying to come at Apple from a different angle. Rather than taking the US tech giant head on, it’s playing Apple’s game of dominating a spectrum of products – where Apple dominated handheld devices such as music players and mobile phones, Samsung is now trying to capitalise on its supremacy over the household tech by smartening up fridges and TVs.
The new feature appears closer to being fully functional than previous rumours had suggested.
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