Business is being reshaped online, it has to, the very way of survival is change, it is however, doing a poor job of translating it to traditional business forms. What I call the OLD Business Model still needs to be looked after, but it also needs to be transformed and reshaped to adopt the online mentality if it’s to survive. No longer can we use the phrase, ” we’ve always done it this way”, if someone says it, they should be fired on the spot. It sounds harsh but, if that person has influence, the future of that business is and will be in jeopardy if they stay with that thinking.
Toll Booths are the mechanism for getting paid, online & off, it’s the way of the business world. These toll booths are being reshaped, they are becoming more & more invisible to the consumer. This seamless trend will continue to the point we may not know when we’ve actually paid for anything! The strategic alliances, the partnerships, and the stand-alones must make paying for goods & services effortless in order to make the experience positive. Not unlike the Apple example, iTunes has made buying music almost painless but not completely. You still have to download an application and you still have to have a valid account with a healthy balance in it before you can feel the benefit. Plus, it’s a closed system, you don’t get to touch it, feel it or make changes to it. Still, this toll booth is better than no start to the future of toll booths, and probably one of the best examples to date.
My son recently purchased eye glasses online, it was a great experience, and he saved money to boot! It was a simple three step process, choose your contacts & or designer frames, enter your prescription & customize your order, and then see the savings delivered to your door. It took him less than a week to get his new glasses, he put them on and they were perfect. The company is called Clearly Contacts, a Canadian company that is making it easy to buy glass & contacts, and they accept PayPal as a means of payment! In the future, we will have our eyes tested online so we don’t have to drive to the optometrist to get the prescription.
Soon there will be a secured cookie mechanism, a cert if you will, it will eliminate the actual payment click of the mouse step, it will be similar to the RFID chip. It will be a Secured Digital RFID Cookie that will handle the payment process for you. Of course, you will have to approve it, but as web browsers die, other technologies of viewing websites will make this process even easier.
The current build of toll booth is still too cumbersome, a link to PayPal or another means of making payment needs to be hidden from plain site, making the experience better. The current method makes you feel like you have been violated, or you’ve left the house unlocked, I need to feel things are well looked after, I don’t need to see it. The experience is everything for the user, much like Attention is to the seller. Attention is the new currency for anyone or any business selling products and services online. The problem is, getting that attention is going to get harder and harder, and it’s also going to be extremely difficult to keep that attention. One way of helping the cause, make paying for your products & services as easy as possible. Don’t ask users to fill out a LONG form, requesting name, address, phone numbers and so on, that will be the death of you. Find ways to make the toll booth invisible, and above all, an experience they can’t stop talking about in a positive way.
Where you put the toll booth matters, the experience users have using your site & toll booth will be the difference maker. The future of toll booths? Simple, hide them, embed them, make them work seamlessly online and you will have a winner. Better yet, you’ll get attention, and that means good things for you and your business.