Commonwealth Bank of Australia have just launched a video showing their new merchant payments solution called Pi.
This is truly interesting for a number of reasons:-
1. As with previous innovators in this space such as Square, they are bringing together a number of different parts of the value chain within a single platform. Watch out if you currently make money out of ePOS, stock control or loyalty!
2. They are creating a platform which is both open and closed - just like Apple. It's open in that developers can build custom applications that add value (it's based on Android), but closed in the sense that CBA own it and will ultimately control it. This is not something I've seen before from Square or PayPal.
3. The platform blurs the boundary between the user (the retailer) and the customer. Any payment terminal allows interaction with the customer, but normally only in the sense of identifying themselves or possible picking their chosen payment type (check / credit account). With Pi though the customer can truly interact, chosing for example how to pay amongst friends and I would assume select how they want to receive receipts.
The increasing use of tablets within the retail space is opening up more and more opportunities to create engaging customer interactions. Unlike dedicated terminals or tills, with a tablet the scope is limited only by the imagination of the developers. By CBA providing a platform like Pi that allows developers to create new functionality they benefit by having a constantly evolving merchant solution which they control.
CBA say on their website, "Pi is the future of business". I'd argue it's also possibly the future of ePOS, e-receipts, acquiring, stock management, loyalty and anything else the merchant may think of or need.