I was recently sent a viral video of a baby who's used an iPad to such an extent, that she tried to use the same tablet UI gestures (swiping, clicking and pinch-zooming) when given a real (i.e. dead tree) magazine.
What struck me was how the video appeared to polarize opinion between the people who chastised the parents for 'ruining their child's future' and those who hailed this as a watershed moment in human evolution.
As with many things in life, I try to take the middle ground.
Yes, tablets and modern phone devices with their large capacitive screens are indeed enabling content consumption on a scale not seen before. And electronic paper eBook readers are enabling people to hold room's full of dead tree-style books in something that would fit in one's back pocket. Both of these points have to be worth something! Plus I don't remember reading about anyone selling their kidney for a desktop PC to browse the internet on.
But with schools and libraries still very much reliant on traditional printed matter, this baby (and her children and grand children no doubt) will grow up knowing how to read and use physical books just fine.
On the other hand, I can see that with the further development of these technologies, one day books will indeed be relegated to niche areas. Remember records, tapes and CDs anybody?
And before some of you start protesting violently or getting melancholy over the demise of paper as a form of an information transmission medium, just remember that it wasn't the first (see cavemen or for the believers amongst you Moses) nor were tablets the first to challenge the written paper's dominance. Do you recall the time when dictionaries were printed and we used to send letters to each other? The internet and email took care of both.
Just another step-change
And this is precisely why I have to disagree with the iPad evangelists hailing its ”magical and revolutionary” properties. We have to look at this as just another step change in the way we consume information and interact with technology around us. The bottom line is - consumers expect things to be easy. And following the ethos of taking complexity out of technology/online shopping Apple this year briefly captured the title of world's biggest company based on market valuation (before falling back to a still respectable second place) and Amazon has become arguably the biggest etailer in the world.
The power of 3
So what does this mean for all of us in the Loyalty, Fraud and Payment fields? Well, some could be confused into thinking that the answer is apps or cool chrome buttons, but for me the key in the success of modern smartphones and tablets is as much in under the skin integration as is with the resulting ease of use.
Combining payment, loyalty and fraud functions together into a single customer interaction management solution can make things easy for customers too in a number of interesting ways.
For example, combining Payment and Fraud data will help drive down card fraud even further than with the current methods of doing fraud checks with each payment over a certain value, which will lead to extra revenue for banks and retailers and lower banking costs for consumers.
Combining Loyalty and Fraud can improve loyalty scheme ROI by reducing losses due to sweethearting and allow retailers to pass greater rewards to their customers.
Combining Payment and Loyalty can mean the end of carrying numerous loyalty cards/key fobs as well as tedious sign up processes. It can even give retailers the ability to start offering all their repeat customers tailored offers at the point of purchase before they have even actively opted-in to a scheme.
The combination of all three services will contain all of the above benefits together with the advantages of storing the information in a single database. And together with other technologies such as tokenisation, this triad will allow retailers to offer their customers a fast, intuitive, safe and rewarding shopping experience whether in-store, online or on their phones.
And once that's all in place, we'll have plenty of time to spend fretting over what gradient to use in the latest iteration of our website's 'BUY' button.
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