Space, The Final Frontier

This happened yesterday.

PayPal, the e-commerce business that allows for online money transfers anywhere in the world, announced the launch of PayPal Galactic on Thursday. Intended to make universal space payments a reality — and help Kirk pay for that warp drive tune up — PayPal Galactic plans to bring together leaders in the scientific community to prepare and support the future of space commerce.

‘We are confident that Captain Kirk would use PayPal’s galactic payment system to pay for Enterprise’s repairs.’- Anuj Nayar, the senior director of communications and social media of PayPal

In recent years, privately-owned space tourism programs such as Virgin Galactic and SpaceX have made strides in opening the experience of space exploration to the general public.  In the hopes of being the world’s first and preferred monetary system that reaches into space, the company has partnered with the SETI Institute and other members of the scientific community to answer questions about the future of space commerce.

The need for such a payment system already exists, according to PayPal. Astronauts living aboard space stations still need to pay for life’s basic necessities. No matter how far from — or above — home they are, the astronauts are still responsible for them.

As both SETI and PayPal share the same goals of exploring space and developing an interplanetary system, the company strongly feels that partnering with the sky-watching Institute will address the critical issues and make the payment system a reality.

On another galactic note, we had a super moon this week.  Check this picture out:

Supermoon

“To the Moon Alice.”

Enjoy the weekend.

Webman

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Window Shopping with Friends

Started my day in NYC yesterday with a business meeting near Herald Square.  I love NYC.  The people, the buzz, the energy; all good from my perspective.  And then of course there is the never ending stream of places to eat and shop.  And yes, NYC is very expensive, no doubt about that.  Brought lunch yesterday for $13.50.  This consisted of a nice sandwich, chips and an ice tea.  $13.50?  Really?

Later in the day, I walked over to Grand Central Station to catch a train to Greenwich, CT.  More on that in a bit.  This is the 100 year anniversary of GCT.  Happens to be one of the most magnificent train stations in the world.

GCT

An amazing place.  And also now a destination site for retail and commerce.  All sorts of stores there now including Apple’s unique location right in the terminal.  On my walk to GCT, I also noticed so many retail stores that were just buzzing with activity, sales, entertainment outside to get you inside; innovative retailers doing what it takes to get us to spend a buck.

Next I hopped a train and headed to Greenwich to meet up with some old friends.  Took a stroll up Greenwich Avenue, which to say the least is a high end place to shop with many of the highest end retailers such as Tiffany’s and Saks being open for business.  Spent a few hours with my friends Maria, Fred and Terry.  (Maria, if you are reading this today, thanks for making it happen)  Shared some stories, got caught up on the last 15 years, laughed really hard before everyone headed back home.  When you get a chance to work with great people and share successes, the bond that you create lives in infamy.  It does not matter how much time passes between visits; once the ball gets rolling it is like no time past at all 🙂

One of the many challenges for retailers is the rental/ownership cost of these physical store locations as well as the size of the stores themselves, where inventory and choices may be limited due to space constraints, store layout and other restraining forces.  So every store owner has to deal with making sure they are turning their inventory at that physical location to cover there overhead and make a buck.  Today, most retailers also have webstores  that are open 24/7 and they use a variety of different techniques to incent you to visit and buy.  The commerce evolution continues as savvy retailers blur the line between physical and on-line stores, making your shopping experience even more compelling and creating loyalty through differentiating technology.  Well, that is about to change again.

EBay Inc is launching virtual stores called “shoppable windows” this month that the e-commerce company hopes will help retailers generate more sales from their existing physical store networks. The first four of these screens will open from June 8 through July 7 in busy parts of New York City, such as the lower east side and Soho. They will sell 30 items from Kate Spade Saturday, a new fashion brand launched this year by apparel retailer Fifth & Pacific Companies Inc.

ebay-shoppable-windows.png

The new screens measure about 9 feet across and 2 feet (0.6 meter) high and will appear on the front windows of closed stores. Shoppers will be able to touch the screens to order and have products delivered to them within an hour via courier. Payment will be accepted by the couriers through PayPal Here, a mobile payment service developed by eBay.

This is the latest effort by eBay to work more closely with large retailers that are looking to reach more online and mobile shoppers. The company has attracted some large retailers, such as Target Corp, to its online marketplace, while developing mobile shopping technology for other retailers such as Macy’s Inc.

EBay’s “shoppable windows” are an extension of the shift to mobile shopping. For Fifth & Pacific, the windows will help launch its new Kate Spade Saturday brand without opening new physical stores, at least initially, according to Chief Executive William McComb.

“This gives us the ability to produce more from our retail space,” McComb said. “My nickname for it is the Wall as a Mall.”  McComb said he is considering putting shoppable windows in small Juicy Couture stores that will offer about 200 different shoes to buy. The company may also use the windows in Kate Spade New York stores to sell home furnishings, bedding, linens and towels.

“We would never be able to fit all those products in a store in the traditional way,” McComb said. “These things would typically require an extra 10,000 square feet of store space. But through partnerships like this eBay one we could do this through stores that are 2,000 square feet.”

Full article can be found at http://www.businessinsider.com/ebay-launches-shoppable-windows-in-stores-2013-6

Amazing stuff on an amazing day.

Webman

 

Etail – The Revolution #4

Last of a series for this week.  So far we have looked at a number of interesting consumer etail trends plus solutions from eBay, Paypal and Facebook.  Today we will take a look at some other solutions from American Express.

But first, our final song of the week with Revolution in the title:

“Revolution rock, it is a brand new rock – A bad, bad rock, this here revolution rock – Careful how you move, Mac, you dig me in me back – And I’m so pilled up that I rattle – I have got the sharpest knife – So I cut the biggest slice – I have no time to do battle

Everybody smash up your seats – And rock to this brand new beat – This here music mash up the nation – This here music cause a sensation -Tell your ma, tell your pa – Everything’s gonna be all right – Can’t you feel it? – Don’t ignore it – Gonna be alright

Revolution rock, I am in a state of shock – So bad, bad rock, this here revolution rock – Careful how you slide, Clyde, all you did was glide – And you poured your beer in me hat – With my good eye on the beat, living on fixation street – I ain’t got no time for that ‘

Revolution Rock – The Clash

Take a look at what American Express is doing in social, letting cardmembers sync their cards with Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook. When American Express card holders sync their cards with Foursquare, they receive location-based deals and offers directly to their AmEx cards. Those who sync their card with Facebook, as part of the “Link Like Love” program, see deals in their newsfeed on Facebook, based on which companies they talk about and like. Consumers that sync their cards with Twitter, get savings loaded directly to their cards when they tweet using special-offer hashtags. The “Link Like Love” program lets brands and retailers tie sales back to efforts on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, using the AmEx application programming interface.

Who doesn’t love a good deal? Twitter and American Express have partnered to offer special deals, discounts and coupons in 140-characters or less. If you’re an AMEX customer and a Twitter user, you’ve got $$ savings at your fingertips.

Visit sync.americanexpress.com/twitter to sync your AMEX card with your Twitter account. Then, you just have to tweet merchant-specific hashtags to load up coupon-less deals onto your card, which will become active the next time you shop at that particular merchant.  AMEX cardholders will see the coupon applied as a discount to their statement within days.

American Express® Cardmembers across the country can discover exclusive specials on foursquare. Connect any eligible Amex Card to your foursquare account today for couponless, hassle-free savings. #1 – SYNC: Go to sync.americanexpress.com & securely connect your Card to foursquare to find exclusive Amex specials at foursquare venues.

Amazing stuff.  Enjoy the weekend.

Webman

Etail – The Revolution #3

In our continuing series, today we will look at more very cool stuff that is making mobile etailing huge.

In keeping with the theme however, we continue with songs that include the word Revolution:

‘Yeah – Well you can bump and grind – It is good for your mind – Well you can twist and shout let it all hang out – But you won’t fool the children of the revolution – No you won’t fool the children of the revolution, no no no

Well you can tear a plane in the falling rain – I drive rolls royce ‘cos it’s good for my voice – But you won’t fool the children of the revolution – No you won’t fool the children of the revolution, no no no – yeah! – But you won’t fool the children of the revolution
No you won’t fool the children of the revolution – No you won’t fool the children of the revolution – No you won’t fool the children of the revolution – No way, yeah, wow!”

Children of the Revolution – T-Rex

Yesterday we took a look at game changing solutions from eBay and Paypal.  Today, let’s take a look at what Facebook is doing.

Facebook Credits is a payment system that offers a safe, easy and fast way to pay for digital and virtual goods in games and apps across Facebook.

  • Facebook users trust the Facebook brand and feel comfortable storing their payment information with Facebook and buying with their Facebook credentials.
  • Facebook Credits is available internationally and supports 80+ payment methods in 50+ countries around the world and we continue to actively expand our footprint.
  • Finally Facebook credits provides a consistent way for users to buy on Facebook across mobile, desktop, games as well as non-game apps.

Facebook Credits are a virtual currency you can use to buy virtual goods in any games or apps of the Facebook platform that accept payments. You can purchase Facebook Credits directly from within an app using your credit card, PayPal, mobile phone and many other local payment methods.

Facebook announced in February 2012 that it had partnered with a number of the largest mobile operators, including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica, T-Mobile USA, Verizon and Vodafone, to enable users to make Facebook Credit purchases via mobile operator billing (i.e. see the charge appear on their mobile phone bill).

The Facebook ecosystem is alive and well and ready for some money.

Webman

ETail – The Revolution #2

We covered some incredible growth trends and customer expectations yesterday in The Revolution #1.  Today we will look at some of the companies and applications changing the world.

Just to get your day started here is a little diddy:

“Don’t you know – They’re talkin’ bout a revolution – It sounds like a whisper – Don’t you know – They’re talkin’ about a revolution -It sounds like a whisper – While they’re standing in the welfare lines – Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation – Wasting time in the unemployment lines – Sitting around waiting for a promotion

Poor people gonna rise up – And get their share – Poor people gonna rise up – And take what’s theirs – Don’t you know – You better run, run, run – Oh I said you better – Run, run, run”

Talkin’ Bout a RevolutionTracy Chapman

Take a look at what E-Bay is doing.  eBay‘s latest app combines two of America’s favorite pastimes: shopping and watching TV.

Originally a feature of the eBay for iPad app, Watch With eBay debuted as a standalone app that will let viewers browse in real time products related to their favorite TV programs. Fashion buffs, for example, will easily be able to find and shop for clothes made by designers featured at a red carpet event airing live on TV.

This unique live viewing experience is made possible by a zip code-based guide embedded within the app, according to Engadget. PCWorld explains further that Watch With eBay syncs up with your area’s local cable programming schedules, enabling viewers to become consumers with a tap of a finger. The viewer simply chooses the show she’s watching from a list on the app to see available products related to the show.

The new app also offers a feature called Shop Like a Star, which lets TV, film, sports and music fans view and purchase items recommended by their favorite celebrities.

And now check out Paypal.  Available to global retailers today, PayPal Access gives consumers the ability to sign up and sign in to participating websites with just their PayPal usernames and passwords. PayPal has more than 100 million accounts in 190 markets worldwide.

Unlike identity solutions currently on the market, PayPal Access provides everything consumers and merchants need to create an account and complete a transaction – including user verification, shipping information, and payment details. By helping retailers simplify login and account creation, PayPal Access can help increase conversion and loyalty on merchants’ websites. Research shows that nearly one out of every four consumers abandon their shopping carts when they’re asked to register an account.

These innovative companies are breaking down the barriers to e-commerce in a huge way.  More to come as we further explore this global phenomenon.

Webman

Do It Yourself Health

Smartphones empower us with information, ease of access, games, social interaction and many other opportunities to connect in real time to just about anything that we are interested in.  Many of the applications that are available have been created to put us in charge of our lives and to expand the utilization of do-it-yourself tools.  For example, your banking application let’s you do just about everything (pay bills, transfer money etc.), Pandora/Spotify let you listen to any genre, artist etc. and PayPal let’s you make payments and transfer money in a more secure way.  The headline on all of these applications is that they empower you to do-it-yourself.

Another area where consumers are moving to do-it-yourself is with monitoring our own health.  Today, there are over 9,000 mobile health applications available in Apple’s app store.  That’s right over 9,000 mobile health applications.  These applications are in the areas of cardio-fitness, diets, stress and relaxation and specific men’s and women’s health apps. http://mobihealthnews.com/

As a way of introducing you to these amazing capabilities, here are a couple of examples of some of the current options:

  • Jawbone’s Up is a wristband personal tracking device that tracks a user’s moving,eating and sleeping patterns. The device syncs with an iPhone app, and users can set the device to vibrate when they have been inactive for a period, compete against friends and even earn real life rewards for completing activity challenges.  http://jawbone.com/up
  • The Play It Down app enables users to test their hearing.  The app offers several interactive features including ‘The Ear Knob’ that lets friends compare who can hearthe highest frequencies, and ‘The Volume Zone’ which measures sound volume in decibels.  http://playitdown.org/
  • Withings‘ Blood Pressure Monitor plugs into an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch and takes the user’s blood pressure. Data can be sent directly to a doctor or published (confidentially) on the Web.  http://www.withings.com/en/bloodpressuremonitor
  • US automotive company Ford demonstrate three apps offering in-car health monitoring. The sample apps use Ford’s SYNC Applink software to enable drivers to access certain mobile health apps while driving to keep track of chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma and hay fever.  http://corporate.ford.com/news-center/press-releases-detail/pr-ford-and-healthcare-experts-34627

As consumers, we now have the ability to consistently monitor our health, get recommendations for improvement and learn more about how to stay healthy.  The above examples are just the tip of the iceberg.

Let me know what you think of this article by commenting below.

Have a great day.

Webman