61 a golden age Similarly in the future, shopping trolleys could come complete with a small TV screen near the handle. These trolleys would make the shopping trip easier - helping customers navigate around the store, highlighting to customers if they're buying products with saturated fat or fatty acids, or helping them shop to a budget. They could even broadcast a video of the shopper's children playing in the supermarket crèche. A similar application could be downloaded onto the shopper's iPhone or BlackBerry. Tesco. com's customers already store their shopping list online and could use it while they shopped in store. Similarly, Tesco collects detailed information on the sources of its ingredients and this information could be provided through the mobile application for shoppers wanting to know more about a particular product before purchase. The skill for a customer- focused organisation is working out how to do helpful things like this on a large enough scale. Why would they want to? Simple, if it's providing something useful, their customers will trust them more and come back again and again. Magic money At the moment, retailers collect customer data on loyalty cards. These have evolved in time; both Tesco and Kroger also offer customers key fobs that conveniently slip onto their key ring, but developments in South East Asia hint at how methods for both payment and loyalty cards might evolve. In technologically advanced markets like Japan and South Korea, consumers are already able to pay for items using their mobile phones. Their mobile devices are acting in a similar way to the Oyster Cards London commuters use for travel. They can be loaded up with money and then used as payment tools. In time, consumer will be able to set up their loyalty card as a platform on their mobile, in the same way that they might set up an Oyster Card application. Of course, this will have implications for the swell of customer data. It means that even impulse and convenience purchases - from chewing gum to a Snickers bar, can of Coke or a newspaper - can also be tracked.
62 In late 2007, a consortium of companies including O2, Nokia, Visa and Transport for London began a six- month trial of mobile phones with built- in Oyster Card functionality in the UK. It makes sense. Why bother carrying around different credit cards, debit cards, not to mention different loyalty cards, if one device could do it all? And if it's not our mobile phone, it's likely that a similar Oyster card method will become more popular as a payment method. In the UK, Barclays Bank is already experimenting with contactless, ' wave and pay' credit and debit cards. The Barclaycard OnePulse card can be used for purchases under £ 10, meaning consumers won't need to remember their PIN or dig around for small change, just wave their card over a device. A similar payment method, the Octopus Card, is already used in Hong Kong, where users can pick up their paper at a 7- Eleven convenience store or buy canned drinks from a vending machine by using stored credit on the card. The ' wave and pay' method could revolutionise the way we shop, according to Rufus Evison, Digital Strategy Director, dunnhumby. If products have RFID price tags then a future shopper ( who has opted in to this service) could wander around a store, collect their groceries and walk straight out, knowing that their bill be debited automatically from their mobile phone or Oyster- style payment card. Or, imagine if we paid for goods using only our fingerprints. Already in Japan, Hitachi has teamed up with JCB to test a biometric payment system based on finger authentification technology. Next it needs to determine whether the technology is commercially viable for use in banks and shops. However, the fact that one Japanese man has managed to override a fingerprint scanner with a jelly baby sweet suggests that even biometrics are not 100% secure! Similarly, US supermarket Piggly Wiggly, has launched a loyalty card based on a customer's thumb print. Meanwhile, in India, banks are examining whether biometric ATMs could help to reach the unbanked population in rural areas. Using thumbprint and voice would make it possible for illiterate citizens to become part of the banking system. Although Asian markets are incredibly advanced in terms of joining up their technology, they haven't yet started linking any colour you like as long as it's any colour you like