Here are a few stories that caught my attention in the commerce space this week.
TiVo and PayPal team up to bolster couch commerce
Smartphone and tablet shopaholics will soon have another electronic venue to engage their shopping habits: the TV. At the TV of Tomorrow Show in San Francisco this week, PayPal and TiVo announced the two companies will be joining ranks to let consumers make purchases directly through interactive ads on the TiVo interface. According to the press release, users will need to link a PayPal account only once, then purchases thereafter can be made with a couple clicks of the remote.
Matthew Humphries over at geek.com notes the potential “kid-factor” issues and the need for some sort of parental control or lock-out. He also addresses another potential problem with ads — namely, that many consumers have grown accustomed to skipping them — and points out that TiVo and PayPal are planning ahead:
“For the most part, TV advertising is something that I for one try to ignore. That’s mainly down to the adverts repeating too often and the stuff being advertised not actually being targeted toward me. That is sure to change as the set-top boxes we use get smarter and know who is watching (just ask Intel). One day adverts may actually include products you want to purchase immediately.”
The instant-purchase campaigns are scheduled to launch with the fall 2012 TV season.
Sprint prepping its own mobile wallet?
The NFC Times learned late last week that Sprint is preparing to launch its own mobile wallet. According to NFC Times sources, the product will be called “Touch” and could launch as soon as this summer. (A blogger at Android Central shared a couple of slides leaked this week that seem to support the wallet development).
I’m sure this news made heads at Google turn, as Sprint is the sole mobile operator partner of Google Wallet. The NFC Times reports that it isn’t clear whether or not this means Sprint will end its partnership with Google Wallet, but notes that “it seems unlikely that it could support both wallets on the same NFC phones since each wallet requires control of the secure element.”
In related news, Nick Hughes at TechCrunch took a look at trends in mobile wallet and mobile payment systems, and notes that not only are the proprietary platforms causing fragmentation that is hindering mobile payment progress, but they’re excluding a vast majority of potential consumers:
“Ironically, many companies innovating on mobile payments today are focusing their attention on a new kind of proprietary ‘payment mechanism’ in the form of isolated apps, NFC required devices and other exclusive components of a mobile device … [there are] roughly six billion mobile subscribers worldwide — an astonishing 85% of the world population. Also important to note, 95% of these individuals don’t carry an Apple device. And moreover, 75% of the world is still not using a device generally regarded as a smartphone.
“Let me state that another way: There are 4.5 billion people in this world holding a phone, just NOT holding a smartphone.
“So, why is there so much focus on a mobile payment experience in which only 5% — or at max 25% — of the world can actually participate? Shouldn’t we look at what all these devices have in common when we are designing an experience as universal as payment? I fear we are leaving too many people out of the game and too much money on the table.”
You can read Hughes’ entire report and his ideas on how best to grow the mobile payment industry here.
Apple has more credit card numbers on file than any store in the world
Apple’s WWDC conference took place this week, and one particular statistic emerged that may hint at Apple’s future in mobile payment. As reported by Owen Thomas at Business Insider, Apple has 400 million active accounts with credit cards attached in its app and iTunes stores. Thomas notes the context of this volume: “That’s more than PayPal, which has 110 million active accounts (out of 232 million total), and Amazon.com, which reports having 152 million customer accounts.
A post at Mashable reports Apple CEO Tim Cook made a point of noting that this makes Apple “the store with the most credit cards on file anywhere in the world.” Proprietary platform issues aside, this amount of data and number of already engaged consumers is a strong indication that Apple is poised to disrupt the payment industry.
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