During conversation with friend yesterday (in which he was trying to figure out how he would hypothetically accept payments for a pizza he delivered via mini-drone helicopter) I realized how dinky our current mobile payment options are; Should he attach a iPhone and Square dongle to the delivery box? Make customers sign up for Venmo? Set up a PayPal account and/or only deliver to people who have a Nexus S?
The conversation highlighted the fact that, with Google Wallet coming out this summer, mobile payments are at the precipice of massive change. It reminded me of Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s vision of the future of mobile commerce, which he related to press while at Sun Valley’s Allen & Co conference last month.
In Schmidt’s “Commerce Fantasy” you’re driving down the street, and somehow your phone knows you need new pants. Roll with me here … The phone somehow realizes there’s a pants store on the left and a pants store on the right and knows that through Google Offers the store on the right has the cheapest pants deal. Your GPS says,“Turn right for your pants.” When you walk in the store, its system understands it’s you and that you need new pants and so the salesperson comes out with your pants, of course. You tap your phone to pay, and boom, pants.
While the reporters at the briefing giggled at the audacity of Schmidt’s vision, the reality is that current mobile payments technology is aching to displace the archaic tyranny of credit cards and cash registers, and will, eventually, win. Come fall buying pants will never be the same.