There was time when nobody would dream that it was possible to take a picture of a check and deposit it into a banking account. Or use a fingerprint to check out at the grocery store. Or even that a computer could track our purchases and alert us to the best deals on the things we want and need.
And yet it’s all happening, and right now. We’re quickly moving to a cashless society driven by big data in a virtual cloud world, and the tools available to us—in retail-integrated marketing, financial investment and analysis and so much more—during this monumental trend are being quickly refined, reimagined, easier to use and much more safe and secure.
So what does the future of our financial world look like? Here are five sweeping changes to expect sooner rather than later.
- Biometrics Go Big
Even a decade ago this would be the stuff of science fiction, but biometric security is, by all accounts, hitting big in every aspect of our lives, and it’s certainly here to stay. Using your fingerprint to access your smartphone is one thing, but using it to complete a purchase at any and every store is just around the corner. Of course this makes perfect sense—everybody’s fingerprint is wholly unique and nearly impossible to duplicate—and unlike cash or even a credit card it stays with us everywhere we go.
- Moving Money with a Single Click
Where PayPal led the way, many others are following. Not just for buying material goods anymore, online services and payment platforms now allow us to complete all things banking on a global scale from the comfort of our couch or coffeeshop. No more standing in line to make a bank transfer or whipping out the checkbook to give your grandchild some cash for their birthday: this ongoing trend will dictate money moves at the speed of a mouse click.
- The Rise of Social Media Shopping
Financial analysts in every sector are getting clear indications that consumers are turning to social media more and more, not only when looking for inspiration and information on products and reviews but also to simply buy. Last year “buy buttons” gained serious traction on the most common social media pages manned by big retailers. In essence, social media platforms will act as a virtual middleman: see something you like on Facebook, Twitter etc. and with one click you bypass having to muddle through a retailer’s home page and rather land directly on their checkout page.
- The Power of Big Data Leveraged
It’s unlikely the average Joe consumer will even be aware of what’s happening, but retailers large and small keeping a close eye on their bottoms line will absolutely know what’s going on: the rise of “big data” in all aspects of commerce. By utilizing extremely large data sets and analyzing them, buying trends, patterns and associations can be detected and leveraged: indeed, your computer, smartphone, tablet and every other gadget may soon let you know what you want to buy before you even realize it.
- The Changing Face of In-Store Shopping
Currently only a small handful of retailers have in-store mobile devices up and running for their customers, but that’s about to change as more merchants adopt mPOS—wireless devices that perform the functions of a cash register or electronic point of sale terminal—within their aisles. For consumers, this will likely mean an end to waiting in line to check out and completely change the everyday brick-and-mortar shopping experience.