John Lynch

Uberfication of transactions

Love them or loath them, Uber has done one thing, it has shown that it understands that convenience is not just about saving physical effort and time, but about saving mental time and effort. This is the emerging disruption category of 'convenience tech' and the Uberfication of everything.

If you haven’t used it, give it a go. When I used it first I pressed a single call button, to my surprise a cab turned up in 30 seconds, asked for me by name, knew where I was going (I had put my home address previously) we drove and he dropped me off. No cash, cards, swipers, stressing over tips, receipts or anything traditional related to making the payment happened.

It’s an experience that provides a clear indication that the new world of payments isn't really about payments any more, thus lowering the obstacles to consumer transactions and we all have plenty of commercial interactions we have to make, that we wouldn't mind Uberfied.

This may on the surface seem trivial, but seamless data driven personalised transactions would truly revolutionise industries. Let’s just take the possible impact on the automotive industry. Firstly how hard is it to buy a car? The whole process of building up the need, the research to decide on a brand, the visit somewhere to buy and or exchange, the work needed on finance then the post purchase dissonance, not to mention the ownership, tax and insurance transfer hassles. It’s a broken expensive model.  

But what if cars were something you could just rent for moments not days and an impulse? Before we go further some will claim that ZipCar already does this but I am talking about immediate rental driven by personalised data and consumer demand.  ZipCar is a glorified rental model in this light, you have to pay an annual membership fee, in London the hourly rate seems to be £7 or about £60 for the day (more expensive than rentals) and generally I need to think about it.  What I would like is a service that during the week you could decide on a commuting model, while on the weekend I may chose a family type, or even on a sunny day a convertible, or can I car share. What’s stopping this from happening? Nothing really other than the payment.

If you could have a phone a wrist watch or a chip if necessary that identifies you and your payment details, it all suddenly happens. In an instant time, place, start point and destination points, exact running costs, insurance premiums, tax etc. can be calculated and charged. Car ownership would be a thing of the past and a lot cheaper as multiple handling costs are removed. More importantly the onus would also force car manufacturers who essentially all make the same type of car to start offering a truly different and innovative experience, like self-drive, or whatever is next.

Apply uberfication to retail and you take the idea of self-service to its next level. People would simply walk into shops, be scanned at the door, then try on things, take things and walk out. No cards, swipers, receipts no vulgar talk of money. Here the emphasis would shift to customer service and engendering trust. Trust that you are paying a fair price for that product or service, as failure to do so will simply mean and alert before you have decided to purchase.  

Payment options could be included into some of the millions wearable tech devices that are being predicted for sale in 2015 (21 Million sold in 2014 according to IDC). Where I hear you ask are the banks in this brave new world? Not sure, but they will have to pick up their game and find new ways to be top of wallet and differentiate the customer experience to avoid further cuts into interchange revenue and ultimately a steep decline in brand recognition. 


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John Lynch Digital Ministry John Lynch
Company: Digital Ministry
Position: Editor
Involved in the digital media and Marketing industry for many years, through working at the Economist Group (uk), Universal McCanns, Zivo, emitch, OneDigital, IBM (client side), Agency.com & now TBWA NY Now in Bath, UK working as a consultant

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