In the past 10 years we have seen portable music players, smart phones, tablets and in-memory computing completely change our lives. We now have phones that can act as your credit card, 24 hours instantaneous access to all of our banking needs and the emergence of the always-connected society.
This evolution we have witnessed over these past years is incredible and yet I feel there is something we have missed, there is something that has not changed and that is the point of sale or POS experience.
About 50% of my personal transactions are conducted online and this includes my subscriptions to online services like Google music, Netflix and Amazon. The on-line-based purchase experience, to me, is vastly superior to anything I find when I physically purchase something in-store. Surely with the advances in technology and proliferation of cloud computing we can enhance our POS experience to be at the same level as our online experience.
Why does the merchant at my local supermarket still hand me a paper receipt when I have paid using a card that uniquely identifies me? Yes the act of the purchase has become easier, waving my card in front of a reader using contactless technology. But considering all the technological evolution we have witnessed over the past few years, surely we are beyond this.
The closest I have come to be best in-store experience would most likely be the Apple store. The purchase of physical goods in-store requires confirmation of your Apple account, a swipe of your card and that’s it. The receipt for your purchase is then emailed to you, which for me means I can store it somewhere and file it for use later – surely a much better plan that trying to hold onto a small piece of paper.
The solution to this problem is not easy and it raises questions like – who stores this data, what can they do with it and would the merchants be willing to part with detailed transaction information? I don’t have the answer to all of those questions but surely those challenges can be overcome.
I am really looking forward to the day where I know that all of my personal transactions are itemised, filed and easily accessibly without the need for me to worry about where I put that receipt.