It’s getting on for nearly a year to the day when Eric Schmidt unveiled the Google Nexus S with its NFC chip and announced that the end of the credit card was nigh. Since then we’ve seen a handful of NFC-enabled phones creeping into the market, trials of Google Wallet and plans from the UK’s mobile networks.
Our non-battery powered credit cards however are still safe from harm, snug and secure in our pockets. However we’re not entirely ruling out the roles that our phones can play when it comes to buying stuff.
Simply Tap is a new m-commerce service which could (maybe) see us leaving our credit cards at home.
With iOS and Android apps available to download now, the idea is that after registering once, you can purchase products simply by entering a product code into your phone, where you’ll be given the option to Tap & Buy and purchase said item there and then.
You only need to enter card details once and the item will then be shipped out to your home address. By default, the home address will be the same as your billing one when you first register, but you can change this if need be.
In a chat with Simply Tap Marketing Director Nick White, we were told that the ability to add multiple addresses (‘Home’, ‘Work’, ‘Mum and Dad’s House’ etc) will be coming in the next version of the app.
Simply where can I buy stuff?
At the moment there’s a handful of retailers who are including Simply Tap codes in their catalogues and buyer’s guides, including Carphone Warehouse, Best Buy Europe, Goldsmiths, Thornton’s, Pretty Green, thehut.com and moretvicar.com.
The advantage Simply Tap has over regular shopping online (where you’d conceivably register details with mutliple sites) is that Simply Tap puts everything under one umbrella.
We went down to Carphone Warehouse on Tottenham Court Road, picked up a brochure and sure enough there’s Simply Tap codes listed next to selected products. At the moment, you can only buy phones on a pay-as-you-go basis; the process of buying a phone on contract through Simply Tap obviously being a bit trickier to implement.
We can see this being useful in a scenario where you’ve perhaps shopped around in the high street for something, but can’t make your mind up; you take a catalogue home with you and decide to buy after all – get smartphone out, enter code, click to buy.
Support for OCR, image recognition and QR code scanning will be coming in future app updates, with the intention of buyers scanning billboards and full page ads in papers. This sounds a lot more seamless and more 21st Century than having to manually enter a code. An impulse buyer’s nightmare or dream come true?
In the high street we don’t really see a huge advantage to using this to buy something over the old fashioned method of walking up to the checkout with your purchase. Unless you were buying something like a large flatscreen TV, in which case you might want it home delivered anyway.
To get you started on Simply Tapping away, there’s £10 of cashback for the first time you use it. For an idea of how it all works, and for a preview of the QR code/image scanning feature have a look at Simply Tap’s videos below.