>Hands down Google is the most innovative consumer-conscious company in our generation. Last week they rolled the next version of “pay as you go” merchant services called Google Wallet. Just another day in the life of Google’s brilliance, I guess. But- this invention will impact consumers in a major way. Allow me to elaborate.
So do you remember City Pass by MasterCard? City Pass was a keychain card, similar to a gym membership card that you stick on your keychain. Certain merchants invested in technology to accept City Pass payments, but City Pass never really caught on. The idea behind City Pass was twofold; make the shopping experience easier for the consumer and create consumer loyalty. Now, Google has teamed up with Citi and is leveraging the same concept only with a Google spin.
Google, being a brilliant company, is capitalizing on the rapid adoption of smartphones. Now, smart phones will embed City Pass technology and consumers will be able to pay for retail purchases with their phone. I mean, why not? After all, we use our phones for everything these days. Why not be able to make purchases with our phones too?
But Google goes a step beyond. They are also taking market-share away from Groupon, Living Social, and other online coupon companies by introducing Google Offers. Google Offers is only available in 1 city as of today, but will be launching nationwide shortly. The idea is the same as Groupon, but it leverages the Google brand. Google Offers are daily deals from certain merchants. And what’s special is Google offers are tailored just for you. That’s right….just for you. As an example, are you a frequent Starbucks visitor? Google Wallet will be able to track the frequency of your Starbucks visits and “push” Google Offers to your smart-phone offering discounts, new drinks, etc. Google calls this “loyalty programs,” but if you really think about it, these loyalty programs are another spin on consumer targeting. Not only will Google push offers to your smart-phone, but offers will be advertised while on Google Search and Google Maps. Pretty brilliant, right? Google almost makes themselves a one-stop shop for every consumer need.
When Google Wallet launches, it will be first available for Sprint Nexus 4G phones and Citi MasterCard holders. Consumer’s will also have the option to use a Google Prepaid card and gift cards at participating merchants. Readily available to accept Google Wallet are Subway, American Eagle, Walgreen’s, and the Container Store. I’m sure this list will grow as this product develops.
Think about the evolution of payments: Coins-Paper Bills- Plastic Credit Cards….and now smartphones.
Just another day in the life of Google.