Pay Up: Future Coming Fast for Mobile Retail


At an Apple store it's all just "browse, choose, swipe, walk." Bang -- enjoy that new Macbook Air. Now Lowe's has adopted the same approach.

The home-care and -repair company purchased 42,000 handheld units last week for use in its retail stores, according to Bloomberg. The move is to help Lowe's keep pace with market leader Home Depot.

But it also points the retail world, once again, to how customers will check out. Here the store has the handheld. At other stores, like Starbucks, the customer has the handheld and, with a tap, they've paid.

There are a few approaches to paying up. There's near-field communication (NFC), where one waves an app-equipped phone and, voila, paid.

There's Square, which puts the swiper onto anyone's phone and, wham, that's commerce. This one works wonders at yard sales and other smaller-scale events/situations. It also garnered its founder, Jack Dorsey the obligatory "The Next Steve Jobs" title that many seem to keep for all of about five minutes.

Then there's Google, of course, and its Wallet app. The slick video below shows just how Google could continue to take all that data it has about users and apply it to something basic, like paying for something. But it also can store and track users' thoughts movements, of course, keeping items in a queue for later purchase, or for special ordering.

Bottom line: those cash registers and their little slips of paper are already disrupted, they just don't know it yet.

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