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Buying Goods from a Taxi's Back Seat

An interesting mobile pilot is underway in New York City using 50 city taxis. Glamour magazine, SpyderLynk (a mobile activation and marketing-platform company), cosmetics firm L’Oreal USA, remote payments specialist Billing Revolution, and payment-terminal maker VeriFone Systems Inc. are running this Fashion Week experiment to see how consumers respond to targeted advertising and interactive incentives, based on 2D barcodes, to drive sales of L’Oreal personal care products.

SpyderLynk is taking advantage of the ubiquity of smartphones and their cameras to encourage interactivity.

Taxi riders can take a photo of the “Shop the Look” SnapTag and send it as a text message to a short code. Videos will instruct smartphone users how to download the free Glamour Friends & Fans scanner to their phones so they can scan the SnapTag.

SpyderLynk servers send riders a mobile link to a checkout page where they can check off the products they want to buy. If they have not made a purchase from a “Shop the Look” tag before, they will then be delivered to a billing and shipping page from mobile payments company Billing Revolution and prompted to enter their credit card information and open an encrypted mobile wallet. The L’Oreal purchases will then be cleared through this wallet in transactions managed by Billing Revolution.

The credit card information is saved in the wallet, which consumers may use to make future “Snap-to-Buy” purchases from their specific mobile device with a single click–no passwords and no logins.


One of the interesting features of this story is how VeriFone is taking, figuratively, the back seat regarding the payment. Rules with the taxi commission prevent the purchase of non-fare related goods and services over its card present TaxiTV network. Billing Revolution and its remote payments capabilities drive the purchasing process. The VeriFone network is simply delivering the content (which speaks a lot to the value of owning a network, any network). Once those rules are changed, however, it's easy to imagine VeriFone taking on the payments role. Imagine a couple sitting in that back seat, purchasing and printing out tickets to the movie they're on their way to see via the cab and using a payment card in the cab's card reader to effect the transaction. That's where we are all heading.

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