It has been widely speculated that Google + will facilitate mobile payments for (what has been reported as) the millions of users of its new social network. The social network’s Android application, it has been reported, has a mobile payment option with NFC technology – very similar to the e-wallet – that allows people to either tap their phones to other peoples’ phones or even them to a scanner to engage in e-commerce.
Why this app matters
It has even already been said that this could have far-reaching implications, and may just change the way people shop in the future. When connected to a Google+ profile, this technology would allow business owner to track purchases made; so if a customer walks into a store, notes their location through Google +, and then proceeds to make a purchase through the application, valuable marketing information becomes available to the merchant.
The potential benefits for small businesses
What hasn’t been discussed as much is the possibility that mobile payments could benefit small businesses enormously. If a small business owner decided to accept the Google method of payment, and the customer checked-in through his or her Google + profile, that customer’s contacts would see the businesses that their friend frequents. First, the concept of the +1 button applies here: people are more likely to frequent places that their friends have suggested to them. They trust the judgment of the people they know more than they would trust any advertisement. But this increased business is not the only benefit to the merchant; additionally, the merchant may be able to conjure up a rewards program based on the information gathered from the Google + application. This program would incentivize customers by providing rewards for frequency, how much money the customer, or how much time a customer spent at the small business (all this is tracked through the Google app). For example, if an owner of a small pizza restaurant sees, through the Google transactions made, that Joe Shmoe eats at his restaurant 5 times per month, he might give Joe a free pizza during every 5th visit. Joe may then go to his Google + page and announce how excited he is to receive a free pizza at his favorite restaurant and advertise the rewards program in place there. What are the chances Joe’s friends, especially in this economy, don’t visit that pizza restaurant and work toward getting the same kinds of rewards?
When the I- Phone 5 comes out, this is likely to be a revolutionary way to shop. While Google’s e-wallet has only been available to Androids, this new Google + application could be more widespread since it utilizes NFC technology (which has recently been added to the I-Phone as one of its core upgrades). The technology is there, so it’ll be interesting to see how Google implements it for a more widespread audience.
In case you were wondering: More updates to Google +
This week, Search Engine Land reports that Google will be making some big changes (hopefully improvements, not changes like those made by Facebook to privacy settings) to the social network. Additionally, the search engine will soon be rolling out ways to integrate Gmail with Google + profiles. Check in with our blog daily to see what Google comes up with!