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Don't forget, it's the shopping experience that counts

 

It’s Monday morning, I’m in A&E. Not a usual scenario, but with young kids tearing around they do tend to bash into things now and then. So here I am, in the waiting room, my son with a fat lip, and we're both BORED. 

 

“I know, I’ll have a cup of coffee” I think to myself, “How cool, they have put contactless on the vending machine and are advertising (brightly) that they accept Apple Pay”. The geek in me can't resist, "Sorry son, I need my phone back. Yes, you can play Angry Birds on it again later". 

 

So, I hit the vending machine buttons for the coffee, set it at extra strong and a bit milky - 5 button taps. Erm, now what? The Vending Screen says "Insufficient Credit". Drat, that's obvious. It's because I didn't put any money in. So how do I do this? The contactless device has an LCD display, I just missed it before in my rush to get the coffee, and it reads "For Card, Press White Button". Aha! I hit the physical white button on the card reader, prime Apple Pay and do the tap. The Vending Screen says "Please make a selection". That’s it, bring on that cup of char! I do the 5 button taps, but I fumble, too much milk, go back and re-adjust, which forces me to do the strength again. 

 

Then guess what happens? Yup, Vending Machine: "Insufficient Credit", it timed out. After less than a minute. So Apple Pay applied again, and this time with clinical precision I hit the same buttons and get my cup of (really bad) coffee. 

 

I can't help but think that the average Joe would have quit. Too annoying. Too confusing. Made them feel like a plonker. As it turned out though, I didn't have any cash but I could have resorted to chip and pin (or contactless card, if my pocket money account had one). But I'm a geek remember?

 

So the motto of the story is this: Fancy new payment methods are cool, but don't forget it's the overall experience that counts. 

 

... and to add insult to injury, one of the nurses told me off for not putting a lid on my (really bad) coffee. D'oh!

 

 

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Comments: (1)

Matt Scott
Matt Scott - RenovITe Technologies Inc - London 26 January, 2016, 12:161 like 1 like

Consumer User Experience makes or breaks innovation attempts like this - and you are right - it is probably normally payment geeks (like ourselves) that stubbornly stick with it (to varying degrees of success).  Most people will fall-back and pay with cash if the contactless method appeared to fail on the first attempt.