PayPal: high street disruption ahead not down to NFC

See's the mobile wallet expanding

PayPal president David Marcus forecasts 2013 to be a year of disruption in the shopping and payment space. But he insists that NFC technology will not play a part in the predicted upheavals.

According to Marcus, payments at POS do not present a problem. NFC technology has fallen short as mobile shopping apps, which are more location-aware and context aware, come to the fore of industry innovation.

Doubts over NFC are clear when the PayPal president states: “Is tapping a phone on a terminal any easier than swiping a credit card?” I don’t think so – it’s not solving a real consumer problem and it’s not providing additional value to encourage me (or anyone else for that matter) to change my behaviour.”

On the contrary, he has endorsed mobile wallets which need to expand as a vehicle for payments to synthesise loyalty and rewards. A GPS system based concept feeding consumers with value-added incentives to spend according to location is one solution. “I think that location aware, and context-relevant shopping and payments experiences will be one of those technologies that changes much much more for the consumer than even the hard working technologists in Silicon Valley can imagine today.”

Moreover, Marcus predicts the generic high street shopping experience to drastically change, with cash registers being replaced by sales assistants equipped with mobile and tablet devices. “In the old retail model, customers browsed in the aisle and paid at the register. As we move to a world where even the transactions in a shop are transmitted on the back end via the Internet, sales associates will be free to roam the stores and help their customers check out and pay from the aisle or even the changing room… and if they don’t have the right size or colour in stock, they’ll order it for you on the spot to be delivered direct to your home.”

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