An app that enables people to pay in bitcoin for items in-store via Google Glass has been unveiled in the US.
Called GlassPay, the app was developed by New York-based RedBottle Design. It enables consumers to enjoy some of the convenience of the online buying experience during their visits to real bricks and mortar shops.
"With GlassPay, we're taking one of the most basic cultural experiences, the act of purchasing items, and bringing it into the future," said Guy Paddock, CEO of RedBottle Design.
"Bitcoins are gaining significant acceptance in the worldwide marketplace, and we know that face-to-face, app-based shopping and purchasing is in the next wave. We're ready for it," he added.
Google Glass and Android users simply have to scan the barcodes of items in their physical shopping basket, which be added to a virtual 'shopping cart'. They then purchase the items using bitcoins, which means they don't have to queue to pay for their goods, nor carry a wallet.
“Face-to-face, app-based shopping and purchasing is in the next wave. We’re ready for it.”
Another benefit to consumers is that the GlassPay shopping cart operates in real time, which means the total is updated after they scan each item, allowing the customer to budget more effectively.
Retailers and merchants also benefit from payments made via GlassPay as they do not have to pay card-processing fees.
However, retailers may be concerned that GlassPay could lead to an increase in shoplifting, with people pretending they had paid for items when they in fact hadn't. Last year, money saving website Watch My Wallet conducted a survey of nearly 5,000 customers and found that 30% had stolen items when using self-service tills.
Some 13% of those surveyed said they were tempted to steal at self-service checkouts any only refrained because they were afraid of getting caught. The majority of people (58%), however, said they had not stolen from the automated system and never would.
Paddock said GlassPay plans to work with retailers to create customized solutions that will help them avoid any proof of purchase issues. He explained:
"The solution will depend on the merchant's sales process. If they're like IKEA or Best Buy where the customer spends a lot of time on the sales floor show room before completing the purchase, then the retailer can make it so the customer's order is actually prepared for them, which would only happen after payment approval."
Paddock said that in a grocery environment, the payment system could integrate with a kiosk or mobile app used by a greeter at the door. "The customer could provide their order number and the greeter could pull up the order for reference to compare what was scanned to what the customer has. It's similar to what retailers like Costco do with greeters who check receipts of buyers who had used self checkout lanes, except it would be paperless."
GlassPay is being demonstrated at the DEMO 2013 conference in Santa Clara this week, where the creators will presumably address any fears both consumers and merchants may have. The app is expected feature in the Play marketplace and Glass Boutique, in the second quarter of 2014, following the launch of Google Glass.