Next up in our Fun-ance and Tech series: a lineup of mobile payment apps that just may push consumers to embrace the all-digital payment trend. Read on to see why you may want to leave your wallet at home.
By Justin Kozuch
Carrying cash is quickly becoming a thing of the past as mobile payment technology becomes more and more prevalent. The introduction of the iPhone 6 and the newly launched Apple Pay is the opening salvo in the war to replace your physical wallet with a digital version.
The next step in that battle will be to change how people pay for items as online storefronts make the move to mobile payments.
We took a spin around the Internet (and we may or may not have bought a few things on the corporate card – but we digress). Here’s a few of our favourite mobile payment apps.
Tab is relatively new to the mobile payments scene, and is on a mission to make a better dining experience for restaurant goer. If you think about your last visit to a restaurant, how much time is wasted waiting for the bill, paying for the bill, and waiting for the server to come get the bill? Plenty. Tab solves this problem by allowing patrons to pay their bill using their mobile app (and a credit card on file), thereby shortening the waiting time and leaving when it’s convenient for you. Currently available only in Toronto, Tab can be used at 33 restaurants, ranging in culinary experiences from New American to Seafood to Gastropub. With such a diverse selection, what’s not to like? Bon appetit!
Giftagram, launched in September 2013, makes it simple for consumers to buy a timely, thoughtful gift for a colleague or a loved one in a safe and secure manner. What makes Giftagram unique is that their catalogue is a carefully curated collection of products and experiences instead of the slapdash cornucopia of humdrum items seen lining the shelves of the last five stores you visited. While Giftagram is available only to those shipping to Toronto addresses, they will be soon expanding to Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal. Read my full review of Giftagram here.
Download: iOS | Android (coming soon!)
Etsy is home to over 17 million unique items from 800,000 sellers around the world and functions like a typical e-commerce marketplace in that you search for the goods you’re looking for and purchase the desired product from an Etsy retailer. Whether you’re searching for something eclectic or psychedelic, chances are you’ll find it here. Most Etsy retailers will ship to Canada (as well as other countries around the world), so finding that perfect home accessory is well within reach for Canadian consumers.
Frank and Oak
I love Frank and Oak. And by love, I mean LOVE. They’ve built a name for themselves by selling mens fashion items at an affordable price. Their mobile apps are built to look nearly identical to their website and shipping from their Montreal HQ is really quick (one to two day if you’re living in Toronto). The best part? For each purchase, I get 4 per cent back in store credit and I can also access my Hunt club membership using their mobile app. Finally, their iPad app gives me access to The Edit, their quarterly lifestyle magazine, and the Hound, their style and culture blog. Repeat after me: portable good looks.
Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC)
Those that know the outdoors are all too familiar with MEC. The outdoor goods chain has recently made the jump to mobile. Not only does their mobile app connect you with the closest store (they have 18 across Canada), you can also buy any product within their catalogue using their app. Unfortunately, you cannot track the shipping status of orders through the app – you’ll need to use their website for that function. Some obvious misses aside, this is a solid app for your shopping repertoire if outdoor adventures are your thing.
Some Final Thoughts
These apps have been successful because they offer something we all seek: Ccnvenience. For better or worse, our lives are quickly becoming busier and filled with priorities: Work, families, friends. Finding the time to run errands is becoming more and more constrained and retailers are beginning to understand the opportunities behind mobile and how consumers want to purchase goods and services.
Would you use a mobile device to pay for something? Why or why not? Add your two cents in the comments below.
About the Author: Justin Kozuch
Justin Kozuch is a Toronto-based writer who frequently writes words about technology, startups, and marketing. You can visit his blog here.