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New-age shopping - from cashless to card-less !
Finance Articles and Updates

New-age shopping - from cashless to card-less !

new age shopping image for august issueImagine, you walk into a store, submit your shopping list at the counter and a map on your phone screen directs you to your must-buys in the shopping list. Just stuff it all in the trolley, run to the counter, tap your phone on the machine and you are done! No waiting for tendering exact change or for your card to get swiped. Your phone has done it all.

Can’t believe it ?! It is even easier. Just scan the picture of the biryani that you want to relish, from its advertisement in newspaper, magazine or even on a hoarding, and get it delivered to your home with just a click. All you need for it, is a mobile phone with internet. Actually, not just a phone, but a SMART PHONE.


In this tech-driven world, a mere click on your phone will read your mind and action it all in a few seconds. See, how it simplifies your life. Earlier, you would decide upon the menu, look for a restaurant nearby, get hold of the phone numbers, make a call, read out the order to them, explain the address, at times make follow-up calls, keep the cash / tip ready and by the time you open the parcel, the efforts made to get it, have filled half your stomach. With the new technology, all you need is to do is, scan the advertisement of the food you want to order. Your phone will read the code given in the ad and do the needful on its own. It will look for an outlet / restaurant closest to your home / office, place the order, explain the address (yes, your phone knows your address!), and make the payment. So, you can just focus on delighting your taste buds.

Today, this seems a bit far from Indians’ reach. But the west is already enjoying the era of this latest communication technology called ‘Near Field Communications (NFC)’. Simply put, an internet enabled smart-phone with this technology, will work as your ‘mobile wallet’. A smart phone, that can also be used as a smart card, will radically change the shopping habits and make it an even better experience.

Google,a brand synonymous to online-search, just launched Google Wallet in partnership with Citibank, MasterCard and Spriint’s Nexus S 4G phone. PayPal, the company that solved secure online payment, is soon going to announce International partnerships this year, designed to allow you to order ahead, self-check-out in stores and simply use your phone number and a PIN to pay for your purchase. Isis, a Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile wallet with Visa, AmEx, Discover and MasterCard partnerships, launches midyear in Salt Lake City and Austin. Visa’s own virtual wallet, V.Me. is also on deck.

And of course, everyone expects a move be Apple, whose stores are already processing sales through iphones. Apple is likely to announce a wallet soon. With its loyal customer-base and credibility, Apple will surely set a trend forward in making this technology aspiring too.

With NFC, the phone and the sales terminal talk to each other. Internationally, brands like Subway sandwich, Jamba juice, OfficeMAx, Coke vending machines New Jersey Transit trains are all geared to accept payments with a tap of your phone.

Not only does the mobile wallet makes shopping easier, but pocket-friendly as well. These new-generation wallets can be your shop-bot. sniffing out exclusive offers – say Rs. 10/- off on a meal at Pizza Express as you walk by. Not hungry? Save the coupon to the wallet, which will automatically activate it when you buy your next Pizza meal. Till a few years back, there was absolutely no need for digital payments. But today, you can’t buy a lot of things without them. This is the power of technology. Soon, it will be difficult to get a lot of experiences on offer with just cash. There’s something ironic about getting your money’s worth only if you are not actually using money.

Besides shopping ease, this technology will also reduce friction in retail. To deal with the lunch hour crunch at Pizza Express restaurants in London, PayPal created an application that allows customers to enter the number from their bill into their phone and then pay without waiting for a server to run a credit card. The potential glitch – if your cell phone service or wi-fi goes out, so does your ability to pay.

In the west, consumers are ready to ditch paper and plastic. Are you ready too? To use, just one click to buy, just about everything?!


- Ruchi Adlakha Bhaumik


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