Google Wallet

Google Wallet’s contactless payment will change the future of shopping in Australia

It’s not here just yet but cash is closer to becoming a relic after Google announced their plans to introduce Google Wallet – a mobile phone application which effectively acts as a virtual wallet for shoppers.

Major US retailers and international franchises including Macy’s, Walgreens, Toys R Us, Guess, Bloomingdales and Subway are already on board with the forthcoming introduction of Google Wallet. Google may not exactly be breaking new ground with the idea of contactless payment technology but they have the network to make a huge impact in this sphere and on an unrivalled global scale.

Google’s focus on quality and user-relevance, it seems, does not solely relate to the web. They are improving the offline experience for shoppers too for what they call a more secure, simple transaction process.

With major retail organisations on board with Google Wallet, Google are off to a winner. Pre-launch talk may be seen as an exercise in PR but it’s extremely effective as the buzz around the concept is already very positive.

Mobile commerce with Google Wallet is geared at enhancing the user experience. Nobody enjoys standing in a queue waiting to checkout and this new transaction is set to revolutionise how shoppers shop.

Look out for these Google Wallet symbols in the near future in Australian retail outlets

How does Google Wallet work and what does it cost?

It’s as simple as displaying your phone in front of the pay terminal for a few seconds. We’ve already seen self-service shopping at major supermarkets in Australia but you need to swipe your card, present details or try to insert cash in the slot. It can be a frustrating process which something like the Google Wallet app will simplify significantly.

Businesses that sign up to using Google Wallet will feature on the Google Wallet ‘Where it works’ Map, which will effectively tell mobile internet searchers where they can use the latest technology – so if your business isn’t involved, you may be losing out on tech-savvy Australian customers.

The Google Wallet app costs nothing for consumers to download and Google are already accepting applications for their contactless payment technology.

Is Google Wallet secure?

Security is the obvious concern for consumers. What happens if your phone is stolen? Well with Google Wallet it’s protected by pin, your leather wallet and the contents within are not. And when you take GPS technologies into account, it will take an ever more sophisticated criminal to take advantage of the proceeds of their theft.

Google assures us that the Secure Element (computer chip within your phone) is a secure, separate security function independent of your phone, offering added security.

For launch Nexus S 4G from Google will have the Google Wallet app and Citi Mastercard is the current partner from a payments point of view. There are also options for prepaid shopping and giving gift cards through the Google Wallet app but it’s only a matter of time before other smartphone companies and financial institutions jump on board for what is surely the future of shopping.

What does this Google Wallet mean for small business in Australia?

“That will never affect me,” some small business owners will profess but the reality is what big retailers do, small retailers end up having to accept – like using credit cards for payment, how many outlets don’t these days?

It may not be immediate for small business but the sooner your business adapts to the latest technologies, the better placed you are to serve a greater percentage of your target market.

There are savings to be had by adopting Google Wallet – if Google’s proposed app revolutionises the shopping experience as they claim it will, the likelihood is that retailers can save on labour costs as it will not take as many checkout staff to process swifter transactions.

Google Wallet will also provide a platform for businesses to offer deals and specials to consumers who make internet searches through their mobile phone. In Australia, 50% of web users search the web through their phone – consider the possibilities for your business.

We will follow up on this article with another on Google Offers tomorrow, which opens up another world of possibilities for Aussie retailers. For now, watch this space and stay tuned to for all the latest developments in online and offline retailing or follow this link for more on Google Wallet.

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