Mobile payments continue to make significant inroads. However, there is a widening gap in what they offer and how they are used in two very different contexts.

The developing world has taken clear leadership in this space, mainly because mobile payments are filling the gap for the absence of more conventional financial services. Very large segments of the population in developing nations are simply unbanked while on the other hand the very low cost of mobile phones, the broad spectrum of services that they enable and the high level of network coverage make mobile payments ubiquitous, even in rural areas.  Telecom operators partnering with payment services companies have taken advantage of this situation to become the main providers of financial services, including payments for trivial and small items such as bread and milk, not to mention P2P transfers.

In developing markets even online payments are made with mobile phones because in some of these countries computers are still unaffordable and internet connection levels are still very low.

This environment is driving innovation and turning companies operating in this industry into technology and market leaders; it is an all round great success story.

The context in the developed world is totally different. Everybody has a bank account, there are ATM’s on every street corner and cards can be used to pay for everything everywhere. Mobile payments are not required to provide basic financial services which already exist. They have to compete for market share with a well established infrastructure that has saturated the market and in some instances has over supplied. This is the main reason why mobile payments in the developed world have a much lower penetration and are growing at a much lower pace. In an attempt to overcome this hurdle and boost the rate of adoption, payment systems providers are bundling mobile payments with other value adding features.

Geolocation services paired with mobile payments solutions are emerging as one of the most promising such marriages in terms of growth opportunities and value creation for merchants and their customers.  

These services are brought about by the established mobile infrastructure and ubiquity of mobile devices, as well as the surging and low cost NFC and Bluetooth Beacons. This combination allows for personalized content delivery to consumers virtually anywhere. Mobile payments tie it all up because this personalized content can translate into an immediate response from the consumer, meaning instant sales for the merchant. There are real benefits to the consumer too, in terms of convenience, enhanced access to products and services and actual cost savings.

Whilst geolocation with mobile payments have widespread potential, there are two industries for which this is particularly relevant, namely retail and hospitality.

These are just some applications offering new and promising opportunities:

-          Navigation. Navigation through the customers’ mobile device can be used in multiple contexts; helping the customer finding a particular retail outlet in a shopping mall, finding a particular item in the store, finding a friend or helping staff finding the customer.

-          Content delivery. The big news here is personalization. The authentication inherent to a payment system provides secure customer identification. Linked to accurate location enabled by beacons, this feature facilitates delivery of personalized content either through the customer’s mobile device or through external digital signage. Purchases can be completed inside the content with one-click payments.

-          Augmented world. One of the disadvantages that brick and mortar stores face when competing with online stores is their inability to display a very large range. For an online shoe retailer, for example, the only difference between a range of 10 shoes and 10,000 is one of data entry and even that can be automated. There is no other significant cost difference. For the brick and mortar shoe store however, 10,000 pairs of shoes on display is probably not a viable proposition. On the other hand the brick and mortar store retains one major advantage, in that the customer can actually hold the shoe, smell it, put it on and walk around to see how it feels. Beacons can identify the exact position of the customer in the store and display the extended range of that particular shoe style on the customer’s mobile device or on the nearest screen on the wall. If this is a regular customer suggestions can be made based on the buying history. This is the best of both worlds and once again the purchase can be completed with payment inside the content.

While this is an interesting story and it can deliver real benefits for both merchants and consumers alike, the obstacles facing deployment of these solutions are far from negligible. Firstly they require a significant change in consumer behaviour matched by an equally significant commitment in time, effort and money by the merchants to fill the gaps in the infrastructure. While there are many recent examples of dramatic consumer behaviour change driven by technology, there is never certainty that it will happen again and again in every possible scenario conceived by technology companies. Merchants must see these features as sales and marketing tools that facilitate a higher level of service and customer engagement and ultimately result in more revenue but this is also easier said than done. And last but certainly not least, there are some very big brands in the financial services world that see these innovations as disruptive and a threat to their current dominant position and are therefore likely to offer some resistance, for which they usually enlist the help of regulators.

On the other hand there are also some big brands in the mobile industry that want mobile payments to succeed. It will be interesting to see how this tussle will play out in the next two or three years.


Carlos Piteira


Xapo, a Bitcoin startup, is continuing to follow the trend of crypto currency companies becoming financially respectable by adding Wall Street veterans to its new advisory board.

One of the new advisers is Dee Hock, the founder of Visa. Hock sees Bitcoin as the way forward and out of, what he sees as, archaic financial structures.

“We live in the 21st century but are still using command and control organizational structures from the 16th century. Bitcoin is one of the best examples of how a decentralized, peer-to-peer organization can solve problems that these dated organizations cannot” said Hock.

John Reed is another addition to the board. He’s the former chairman & CEO of Citibank. During his tenure Citibank developed the modern ATM, and ‘helped redefine the modern retail banking experience’.

“Bitcoin represents a real opportunity for changing that. Money at its core is simply a ledger for keeping track of debts and Bitcoin is truly the best iteration of a universal ledger we’ve ever seen,” said Reed.

The final appointment is Lawrence H. Summers, the former Secretary of the Treasury during the Clinton administration.

“Bitcoin offers, for the first time, a method for transferring value and making payments from anywhere to anywhere, in real-time, without any intermediary,” said Summers.

These appointments come at a time when Bitcoin companies are beginning to acquire legitimacy and mainstream acceptance. First, came the Bitcoin startups that sought to be recognized as credible financial institutions by submitting to government regulation.  Now the interest has been reciprocated by the financial industry. Xapo has so far raised $40m, and last week, the New York Stock Exchange launched the first Bitcoin index, (NYXBT).


The endorsement from such iconic figures in the financial industry is another welcome and positive development for crypto currencies in general and Bitcoin in particular. We have been arguing for some time that these are financial instruments which are both a consequence and excellent enablers of global commerce in a digitally connected world. The days when critics suggested that Bitcoin was a pointless experiment doomed to fail seem to be rapidly fading into a forgotten past. After all they said the same thing about the Internet.


Carlos Piteira                                                      0418 288 892                     


Mobile carriers have played a significant role in the African and South American payments markets, providing consumers with credit facilities and direct billing to their mobile account. Partnering with the payments systems providers they have fulfilled a large void left by the banking industry in these regions.

There are clear signs that this trend is now catching up in some of the more developed and mature markets in Europe.

According to a recent research from UK provider of mobile billing ImpulsePay, charge to mobile (known globally as direct carrier billing) reaches one and a half times as many consumers as credit cards and over four times as many as PayPal. The research proves that with over 85 million active mobile subscriptions in the UK alone, direct carrier billing has the largest share of users of any mobile payment option in the UK.

The study notes that online merchants have the potential to reach 93% of all adults in the UK by including a direct carrier billing option at checkout – an additional 47% when compared to a stand-alone credit card option at checkout, or an additional 325% more than PayPal.

The figures are compared to the 58 million credit cards that were in circulation in the UK in early 2014, of which only 66% were active, and the number of UK registered PayPal accounts, of which there are 20 million.

The comparison also takes into account similar smartphone apps that allow users to pay for goods direct from their mobiles such as Barclays’ Pingit, which in 2014 had been downloaded just 2.5 million times (equivalent to only 3% of active mobile subscriptions).

Direct carrier billing is the term for the technology that allows a customer to make a purchase via their phone, without entering their credit card data. The cost is then charged to the customers’ mobile phone account, or taken from the available credit if they are on a pay as you go tariff.

It has been estimated that by 2017, global financial transactions via mobile payments will reach GBP 1 trillion, with revenues billed to direct carrier billing expected to grow to GBP 3.9 billion by 2017, the study points out.

By allowing customers to pay for goods using their mobile phone number, many new potential customers are available for merchants, including under 18s or the hundreds of thousands of households that lack a bank account, who are otherwise excluded from making purchases via a mobile phone, the report concludes.

Australian carriers have yet to catch on to this trend and there are clear opportunities for differentiation and substantial revenue growth for those who make the first move. 

Carlos Piteira

Internet of Things to Reach $8 trillion in value by 2025

The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to reach USD 8 trillion in value at stake by 2025 according to a recent report issued by Cisco.

The number of internet connected devices is on target to reach 50 billion by 2020, representing a major boost for global connectedness and trade.

This development has the potential to become so life changing as to be seen as an entire new chapter in the history of the information age. Although the full range of applications and their potential benefits are still unclear, this is certain to have a major impact on everything from health care to entertainment and from manufacturing to retail.

One of the interesting predictions is the loss of status of the now all conquering smartphone. This may be one of the reasons why the major phone suppliers are placing significant bets on wearables: watches, fitness bracelets and glasses. The fact is that even the most trivial device can become something entirely different with a simple and very low cost Bluetooth connection.

In the area that is of most immediate concern to us, it is natural that many devices will have built in payment capabilities, either for themselves or for a range of products and services. Currently fitness trackers are already used to pay for anything from amusement park rides to coffee. But this is still early stage. There are already low cost gloves and hats in the market which have Bluetooth connectivity, built in microphones and even speakers. With the right infrastructure in place any piece of apparel thus equipped can be used to pay for anything. You just have to put your clothes on, walk into a restaurant, your hat connects to the Beacons inside and it takes care of the bill; the same concept applies to any retail operation. None of this is very imaginative and is all “here and now”; it may take ten or twenty years and one generation for the really interesting applications to appear as was the case with factory automation and the internet itself.

Transportation in general and cars in particular will see major changes with this level of connectivity. Interconnected self driven cars are a reality, the only obstacle to their commercialization being legislation and public perception, which will both change very quickly. The changes in this space will also make a contribution to the payments industry as goods and services will simply be charged to the car itself, the car effectively becoming another e-wallet. This is not restricted to car related goods and services, such as fuel, parking, tolls and services; it can be extended to the McDonalds’ drive through and to digital content such as news, music or videos. Furthermore it may change the way car registration, congestion taxes and insurance are priced, with all these being charged to the car wallet in real time and based on the distance travelled, time of the day and level of congestion on the road.

Energy production, distribution and consumption is another example of a market where interconnected devices, including any household appliance, can be provided with its own payment capability, either through a prepaid e-wallet or a credit account. The IoT is set to open a new and exciting range of opportunity for the payments industry. 

Carlos Piteira

Mobile ticketing to account for more than 1 in 2 digital ticket transactions by 2019

Mobile tickets to account for more than 1 in 2 digital ticket transactions by 2019 (Juniper Research)

Total digital ticketing transactions to reach 32B by 2019

A new study by Juniper Research has forecast that global ticket purchases via mobile and desktop devices including smartphones, tablets and PCs will reach 32bn by 2019, up from an estimated 16.2bn this year. This represents a two-fold growth over the next 4 years.

The new research, Mobile & Online Ticketing: Transport, Events & NFC 2015-2019, found that with digital ticketing services developing fast across the transport and events sectors, mobile handsets will account for more than 1 in 2 digital tickets purchased by 2019.

Metro/Bus Transport Sector Dominates Mobile Ticketing

The research found that in almost every market, metro and bus ticketing was being driven by mobile phone usage. The low price, high frequency and high volume nature of metro/bus ticketing was found to be particularly suited for mobile payments.

In addition, it was found that Metro/Bus ticketing is gaining traction through barcodes delivered via smartphone apps, and through SMS-based solutions, with the latter witnessing impressive user adoption in markets such as Sweden and Italy.

1 in 3 airline boarding passes will be issued via mobile devices by 2019.

The Emergence of Wearable Ticketing

The research observed that ticketing apps will become key for wearable devices, such as smartwatches. "Smartwatches with NFC capability offer a convenient replacement for contactless debit-cards and smartphones. Integrating new devices and wearables should be a key strategic directive for all players across the ticketing value chain", noted research author Nitin Bhas.

However, the research notes that a number of challenges, including scanning capabilities and battery life, need to be addressed for wider adoption.

Our take

QuayPay has a strategic focus on mobile payments for event tickets because it offers great new opportunities to the event organizers and consumers alike. When supported by NFC and Beacons this is a quintessential application of the marriage between mobile payments and geolocation and content delivery tools. The event App can provide the public with navigation around the venue, every conceivable piece of information about the event itself and sale of tickets, merchandise and food or drinks, all paid for inside the App.

Carlos Piteira

Five predictions for online and mobile payments in 2014

As mobile and online payments continue to grow as an innovative sector of the tech market- what marketing changes or new innovations are we going to see in 2014? Here are five predictions for the year ahead.  

1. Payments will become invisible. Check-In rather than Check-out.

We have been introduced to the concept of ‘Checking in’ through the augmented world of mobile Apps. If your customers are checking in with Facebook, Google+ or Foursquare then why not allow for this to also be your payment login system? Payments can be integrated into the check-in as a one-time authentication process so purchases are one tap away and tied into user accounts. Let’s make 2014 the year we kill the checkout system.

2. Card payments will become more secure.

The US payment industry is a little bit behind when it comes to card security. Most countries have been using chip-based cards for a number of years now. I make an effort to always stop clerks and cab drivers from swiping my card as inserting the chip provides multiple levels of encryption. The US will start rolling chip based cards as the market demands it after recent instances such as the Target hack. Mobile wallets also provide increased security as the card details are tokenised with a highly secure incepted key. Furthermore, tokenised cards provide a level of transparency- particularly with real time payment platforms that provide live data on the card's use.

qp wallet

3. We’ll see the introduction of new alternative currencies

BitCoin saw its highest growth in 2013 with many using, accepting or investing in the open source currency. There are a number of other alternative currencies that are also making a splash and more importantly making us think about payments in new ways. I predict an increased number of niche currencies that will be developed for specific market requirements. This might include one currency to buy and sell concert tickets and another to buy and sell real estate. Below- Kanye West inspired currency.

4. The core payment switching technology will be (and needs to be) disrupted.

Customer facing payment technology is in a period of growth due to innovation and disruption- particularly with mobile and online payments. But what about payment switching- the necessary backend system that all payment solutions depend on? There hasn’t been much change here and it’s easy to understand why. Switching technology is not very sexy- you have to be a certain breed of developer to get excited about back-end data systems. Core payment switching is also subject to old standards issued by the industry and government departments that would be very hard to conform to with new technology. However, the industry has pushed the mainframe based technology to it’s limits and change is required. We’ll start to see secure cloud-based payment data switching be introduced within large organisations and behind banking systems that will allow for faster switching and increased volume. In Australia, The Federal Reserve Bank has a sub-committee assessing the requirements of real-time switching across all banking infrastructure. The companies that provide these new switching solutions will be in a high growth area of payments.

5. We’ll do less banking.

With peer-to-peer mobile payments, alternative currencies and flexible access to your own money through mobile and web technology there is less of a need to go to the bank. In fact, countries with little to no banking infrastructure have the fastest growing payment market (Brazil, Mexico, India) . Of course banks will always have their place- but payments are breaking away from the banks and moving into the tech space and gaining speed by doing so.



What are your predictions for payments in 2014? Let me know on twitter @quaypay or #payments2014



jon1 Jon McFarlane, @jonathanaca

Placemaking – the next big opportunity for marketers?

Guest Post by Kylie Boyd Placemaking is a relatively new term usually reserved for a mix of urban planning, urban design and community building skill sets applied to improve public space. So why should marketers take note of this emerging idea? It’s simple – your customers are rapidly changing where and how they live, and it creates a new opportunity for brands to become meaningful in this space.


Global populations are quickly gravitating toward urban centres. It’s predicted that by 2050, 70 per cent of the world’s population will be living in cities. This trend has raised the question: how will cities fit more people in them while still maintaining a high quality of life for all? Some suggest that while city landscapes will inevitably get denser, it’s the quality of public space, and the way we interact and move around within it that will define our quality of life and sense of community.


While 2050 is still a few years away, we’re already seeing the effects of a larger urban population closer to home.  Sydney is the most densely populated city in Australia, and an increasing number young people are choosing to travel via public transport, and 92 per cent of journeys around Sydney’s city centre are made on foot. There is a huge opportunity for brands to review how they engage the smartphone-carrying public as their travel habits change.


Marketing managers have been experimenting with branding in public space for the last few years, but the field is still in its infancy. For example, there are various retailers such as Tesco, Woolworths and Net-a-porter using QR and NFC technology to trial interactive shop fronts on streets and in stations, but it will be interesting to see how these trials evolve into a more functional idea.


Having a presence in the public space is not all about creating pop-up storefronts. Branding public transport has worked well for Citi Group who has created heightened brand awareness and possibly a new database of customers by partnering with NYC Bike Share to create Citi Bike. Or how about the interactive street sign developed by design studio Breakfast, which updates directions based on Twitter trends and check-ins? Brands collaborating with functional signage is a huge opportunity for brands wanting to communicate with street foot traffic in a much more useful way than traditional advertising.


So what’s next? Will we see Coke use it’s ‘happiness’ brand promise to help rejuvenate tired looking city streets? Will Apple partner with governments to produce more user-friendly communication for commuters? These conversations will need to focus on improving functionality and experience, rather than simply introducing branded surfaces, and be mediated by local councils & government, but there are a whole host of opportunities out there, and it’s exciting to see experiments starting to happen.



Kylie is a marketing campaign officer who is passionate about the role of sustainability and culture within urban space.



Gamification Payments

"Gamification is the integration of game mechanics or game dynamics into a website, service, community, campaign, or application"- Wikipedia QuayPay can take this further and enable gamification as part of the payment experience. This provides incentive for engagement and grows sales and website views at the same time.

  • Reward engagement with points. "Share on facebook to win 10 points"
  • Accept these points with QuayPay. "Use your points to save 10% on this item"
  • Control the value of these points from the QuayPay dashboard.

Check out the video below to find out more.

The need for Authenticity in Innovation (or don’t eat sushi with a fork)


Guest post by Madeleine Gasparinatos  At a creative innovation conference held earlier this year in Sydney, Hollywood Art Director Jeffrey Julian said “You can eat more sushi with a fork. But it would be wrong”. Julian went on to say “…don’t innovate for innovation sake. Remember ceremony”.

When thinking about innovation and the need for authenticity, his words have stuck in my mind.

It begs the question - how are we really making technology work for us on a day-to-day basis? It’s becoming clearer that we need to harness its ability for making real, personal, cultural and creative connections.

Last month a two-day summit was held at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence. Called the Indigenous Digital Excellence Agenda (IDEA) the summit brought together nearly 40 emerging and established Indigenous leaders to co-create a nation where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders can thrive in the digital world. Through a series of workshops and learning processes, participants were asked to come up with ideas to work towards Indigenous digital excellence.

What came out of the summit were ideas that were able to grasp current technology and make it work for communities. Some of the ideas included Blackfella Enterprises – an initiative aiming to sensitively and appropriately commercialise traditional cultural knowledge. Through new digital social enterprises, elders and young people would work together to revitalize and strengthen culture and to bring economic independence. Another example is Doris – a playfully named Indigenous search engine (Doris means to have a bit of yarn) that helps people find authentic Indigenous content. The search engine would use filters and approval processes developed by Indigenous people and maintained through community legitimacy.

There was also a lot of discussion about language apps – preserving the hundreds of languages across the nation, or welcome to country apps, so people can geo-locate where they are on an Indigenous nations map and understand past and present history of the land. What was missing and what was encouraging to see is that people weren’t looking for the next best thing in technological advances. They were thinking about making the current technology benefit them in greater ways.

Looking at this approach from an entirely different angle, technology allows us to work from home, interstate or overseas with minimal fuss. But is it worth it? Yahoo! doesn’t think so. Earlier this year Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer asked for all those working from home to resume an office routine. In the memo that went out to all staff it noted that “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings… Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home…”. Whilst this may have been dramatic and left some staff disgruntled, maybe Marissa has a point – are we innovating for the sake of innovating? Just because we can work from home doesn’t mean we should. The real magic can happen through connections and whether they be online or offline they have to be authentic enough to work.

So when thinking about your business, technology or your daily routine, don’t innovate for the sake of it. Remember ceremony and don’t ever each sushi with a fork.


Madeleine Gasparinatos is a digital media strategist, events manager and brand consultant who has worked with companies including NCIE, Portable Studios and Das Monk.

Shop the Shoot- selling fashion with content


Guest Post by Bianca Gregg In this ever-growing digital age, it is essential for fashion retailers to consider and enforce strong digital content strategies to enhance sales and presence with consumers. It is integral for all retailers to have engaging content that goes beyond the means of basic sale techniques by simply providing easy accessed product imagery as a sales attempt.

Consumers; repeat consumers for that matter demand and sought after a highly interactive service to fully engage them in the product that is being placed in front of them. Such service is specifically required throughout an online retail experience. It is essential to provide a targeted online platform to reach a broader audience as a retailer under every category; bricks and mortar boutiques, multi brand boutiques, labels, online only boutiques.

Net-A-Porter is one of the largest and most successful online retailers in the world to date. Net-A-Porter provide a bespoke experience for their customer which provides a platform to assist shoppers with their online journey by hand feeding the customers a curated ‘guest’ edit by celebrities/style icons/models/fashion editors, imagery shot to up-sell multiple products, editorial style shots, shop by trend and interactive imagery.

Net-A-Porter are one of the first retailers to create their own online magazine called ‘The Edit’, which engages a vast audience with the pulling power of icons such as the likes of Miranda Kerr. The most recent issue featuring Miranda Kerr is running in alignment with the models products being launched with Net-A-Porter this month. The platform of an online magazine allows site viewers to feel more involved with the products available via Net-A-Porter through interviews with designers, behind

[slideshow] [/slideshow]

Jasu is an example of an Australian e-commerce retailer that have achieved and adapted the successful method of integrating guest edits and a curated shopping experience. This has been created with a selection of top bloggers who each have huge followings. Working with bloggers and acclaimed models with a large social media following is a very effective method for retailers to ensure interesting topics on their social media, content for social media, trending patterns, increased SEO and directly receiving benefits from the chosen blogger/model database and platform.  Providing the customer with the exclusive pre-order experience can be highly successful for both the consumer and the retailer. This experience provides the customer with the need to place their order prior to the product hitting the floor or online in high demand.

This also works in providing the customer with the feeling of being on the pulse with the upcoming trends through trunk show shopping. High-end retailer Moda Operandi successfully achieves this. This not only quickly builds databases and a following but also guarantees return customers who want more exclusive and limited edition products. This process favours the retailer to work on a pre ordering system to pre-empt the popularity of pieces, to sell out before the stock is even dispatched or perhaps even before their order is placed if this is an option with a willing designer.

Brands like Rebecca Minkoff have created a bespoke experience for their customers with personalised editorial content that is constantly updated for the website.This exposes the customer to experience the quality of service provided by the label. With such interactive imagery, this illustrates to the customer exactly how the product wears taking it another step away from simple generic flat lay.


It is highly recommended to provide imagery of product on a model, multiple angles of the product and also the flat-lay imagery to click through. This prolongs the amount of time the customer spends on the site looking through each product, more than likely providing a better chance of committing to a purchase.

-Bianca Gregg --------


Bianca Gregg is the co-founder and content production manager of OMGBEE is a creative outlet for content professionals in the fashion and lifestyle industries. OMGBEE offer content strategy and production services to brands and labels.

Marks and Spencer create a digital ‘eBoutique’


This post origionally featured on 'Retail Innovation'  

M&S have opened their first store in Holland in the popular Kalverstraat district in Amsterdam. Within the store, customers can buy food but also explore the full range of clothing products on tabletops in the store and on digital screens.

A 9 panel videowall displays content using a new digital signage software solution, there is also digital signage on columns showcasing the latest fashion for the season in the form of catwalk videos. The stylish touch screen order points allow customers to browse the full catalogue and order for delivery to store or home. Staff are also on hand to assist customers through assisted ordering with iPads. The biggest innovation is the ‘virtual rail’ which allows customers to browse the life sized imagery of the hottest dresses and troussers on a 3 x 46″ touchscreen which imitates a real life clothing rail.

We’re extremely happy to be coming back to Holland in response to huge customer demand. We’re coming back in a new way because Holland is one of the most internet savvy countries in Europe,” said CEO Marc Bolland.

“We are therefore launching our new website – – and a brand new e-Boutique as a first step towards rolling out a number of stores in the Netherlands.”

Forget about R&D and head to the Art Gallery


Many great ideas around human and computer interaction start with modern artworks. Businesses are interested in the idea of experiential marketing and promoting their product through emotional connections. Art is a platform that can explore this with no limitations as it focuses only on the experience without any commercial obligations.  Media Art is also highly interactive and can be a sneak peak at future trends that will transcend into commercial markets.

I have always been interested in the link between art and business. The level of human engagement with technology is inspirational as it develops the cultural environment for new commercial technologies.  I have to be careful who I discuss this with as creating new commercial products is certainly not the intention of most artists. However, both business and art have a role to play when it comes to influencing modern culture. Where art challenges the idea, commercial endeavours have the power to reach the masses.

This week in Sydney there is an art project that is very fitting.  Artists James Brown and George Khut are taking over the old Gucci Store on George Street for their interactive art work: THETA LAB.

"The aim of the project is to explore new contexts for aesthetic interactions, and to document the range of experiences afforded by this unusual form of human-computer interaction"

This art work explores new ways of human-technology interaction by combining neuro-feedback with participatory art, electronic music and ‘slow design’.  This is very much my area of interest when it comes to retail engagement and software application engagement. With art works such as THETA LAB, the R&D lab is becoming the pop-up art gallery.

THETA LAB opens runs from Friday 7 June 2013 - Monday 10 June 2013 

136 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney, NSW, 2000, Australia

Feature image from:


Jon McFarlane Co-Founder, QuayPay

'The web is getting physical' and Jon has a passion for helping  clients use web technology for engaging in the physical world.

Twitter: @Jonathanaca Linkedin:

Retail Experience

There is some (a lot) of truth to this but it’s also a mischievous comment: I don’t think that any mobile or online payment system provider claimed to resolve all the problems for all the retailers.

However, it is quite possible that by improving the overall purchasing experience, even marginally, a friendly and cost effective payment system will give merchants a small competitive advantage.

Overall purchasing experience is actually the key issue here and payment systems are just one link in the chain.  PSPs and their client merchants need to focus on the total, start to finish process. The key to this approach is a totally integrated user interface.

Whether we are talking about payments online or in the real world, serious benefits to the consumer, and therefore to the merchant, can be delivered and a revolution in the way we shop is coming.

While the focus has been at the end of the buying process, this needs to change to the beginning and in fact to every moment of the shopping experience. The process described below applies equally to online or to brick and mortar stores:

The customer enters the store. His smartphone or tablet will greet her:

“Good morning Mrs Jones, nice to see you back at Heavenly Spirits. Is there anything in particular that we can help you with today?”

With speech recognition available on just about every smartphone you respond:

“I need some red wine for a BBQ we are having on the weekend”.

You get the response:

"We have an excellent Shiraz from the Barossa that has just arrived. It’s in aisle 5. Just next door you can also find a Cabernet Sauvignon from one of your favourite cellars,…”

You go aisle 5 and payment is automatic as you take the bottles off the shelf. And there is more:

“We would also like to remind you that it has been a while since you purchased your usual Don Perignon, which means that you’re probably running low”. You pick up your champagne and on it goes.

You finally make it to the check out. Your shopping is already paid for so the attendant just puts it all in a box and offers to take it to your car.

You also get a message saying “235 “Frequent Sipper” points have been added to your account. You current balance is 2,860 points, which entitles you to a free bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label. Would you like to take it now?”

This scenario can be replicated in any store with all the variations and embellishments just limited by our imagination. The point is, payment systems in isolation may not be a big deal, but with a clever start to finish integration they can make a significant contribution to a much improved customer experience.

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Feature image from




Carlos Piteira- Chairman, QuayPay

Carlos has a career spanning thirty years in Engineering, Manufacturing, Product Development and Business Development.