Google Wallet Brings Mobile Commerce Closer To Your Smart Phone: Will Vending Machines Be Ready?

June 1, 2011
The bigger issue at hand is how many vending machines have mobile payment capability.
The exciting possibilities of mobile commerce became clearer last week when Google announced the introduction of Google Wallet, a plan that will allow users to store credit cards, coupons, loyalty cards andspecial offers on a smart phone and use the smart phone for making purchases. There are serious implications for mobile commerce due to Googles unique position as a provider of online commerce.To get a sense of the possibilities that Google can bring to online marketing, go to its interactive map at players in the emerging field of mobile commerce, including wireless networks and credit card companies, have been laying the groundwork for electronic wallets (such as ISIS). But Google brings more cache to the table.Mobile commerce observers note that Google does not need to recover costs from online transactions since its more interested in serving as a marketing and advertising resource to businesses.It will take time before smart phones are equipped to do everything that the Google Wallet can offer.But will this happen before vending machines are ready to play in this exciting new world of online commerce?I noted back on 04-06-11 that the vending industry has a lot to gain with mobile commerce. Vending has more points of distribution than any other retail channel, and consumer product manufacturers will want to use the vending channel to promote products, special offers and loyalty rewards through mobile marketing.Google Wallet uses near field communications, a technology that the mobile payments industry has been adopting rapidly. The latest generation of cashless readers for vending machines have NFC capability, meaning the vending industry can support mobile marketing as it evolves.One question that vending operators have as they consider investing in cashless is what will become of the card reader? If contactless payment takes over, will the reader become obsolete?The card reader may fall by the wayside as contactless payments gain ground, but in the near term, most of us will still be using our payment cards.The important consideration is whether or not the readers have contactless payment capability.The bigger issue at hand is how many vending machines have mobile payment capability.