GOOGLE WALLET – WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?


With a full launch of the Google Wallet app due in the UK soon, many businesses are starting to consider how they might use the technology to attract new customers and make life more convenient for existing ones.

So what is it and how does it work? The technology essentially allows your smartphone to take the place not only of your credit card and/or debit card, but also selected loyalty cards, gift cards, coupons, and more. It has the potential to bring to an end pockets of overflowing loyalty cards that require lots of stamps that eventually allow you to have (for example) a free coffee.

Google Wallet has also been designed to allow users to buy things simply by tapping an NFC-equipped phone on a pay-station. However, with a limited number of manufacturers and shops offering this technology (and the fact that the iPhone doesn’t have NFC), it seems that most people aren’t familiar enough with its operation to make it attractive or worthwhile.

Online shopping is where Google Wallet is potentially going to take off. Using the new “Buy with Google” button, users can make purchases online without having to fill in card details and address information; it really is possible to place an order with a single click. Amazon pioneered this method with the appropriately named ‘1 Click’ and this concept is similar.

Google Wallet is therefore perfectly placed for busy customers targeted for impulse buys and repeat purchases. However few online retailers are using the required button, making it a relatively niche feature. It is clear that a lot of thought has gone into the design and implementation of Google Wallet. However, the success or failure of the service will be determined by the ability of Google to build relationships with online retailers, as well as getting more NFC pay points into large retail stores. Google certainly has the financial and technical capability to make this happen and if it does, businesses who adopt the technology should benefit.

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