Friday, March 6, 2015

Apple Pay may not be a big thing for retail shops, but it may be huge for online shopping.

Most of the attention that Apple Pay and the other new mobile payment systems have received has centered on how (or why) paying for a latte on your cell phone is better than whipping out a credit card. Some people say why bother, but I think that's because credit cards are pretty good for that kind of task. The brick-and-mortar application for mobile payments is small beer. It's an incremental improvement. It's online shopping where Apple Pay may become revolutionary.

The ability to enter a totally secure credit card online with just a thumbprint solves a lot of problems for our mobile website. I'm convinced one of the main reasons people don't shop on their phones — even if they are on mobile-optimized sites like ours — is that they have to type. People have to enter all kinds of info like addresses and credit card info on a phone's dinky keyboard and that sucks. The other reason is that they need to remember passwords but all their passwords are on their laptops or buried in some other secure password-remembering App that's a pain to access.  Apple Pay can solve all that.

Apple Pay could let your finger print be your password to a site. Apple Pay knows your billing address so presumably it could automatically enter that when you finger print too, saving you from typing your  address. Apple Pay could allow the mobile browser access to the phone's contacts where you have 99% of your likely candidates for a ship-to address (chances are if you're sending a gift you know the person and they're already in your contacts). That means you could log in, enter your billing address, credit card info, and ship-to address in one  thumb print and maybe 2 more clicks. Think about that. You find something online with your phone. You click the link to a shopping website. Then you place a complete order in 3 clicks. You wouldn't need to download the company's app, it can all happen in the browser. A website could take an order from a new customer, too, in just 3 or 4 clicks. This could be a big deal. 

Designing a warehouse event space out of pallets

Adam's pallet construction studio.

Adam Moskowitz owns the cheese importer/distributor/warehouser hub Larkin in Long Island City, Queens. (He's also the impresario behind the great Cheesemonger Invitational.) I visit his warehouse from time to time to taste incoming batches of Manchego for Essex St. Cheese.  For most of the last year he's been outfitting a room as a teaching space. I've seen it grow from a typical concrete-and-cinder block slab to a warm, fantastic space. It's called Barnyard and most of it is decorated with parts of pallets that come with the cheese imports. Pallets on the lights, pallets as tables, pallets as chairs. Awesome idea.