What Happens When You Merge Search Into Payments?

This is the main question asked internally at Seconds as we are working on a huge redesign of the mobile system.

Google has shown users are quite intent when searching for specific brands and products, that is why adwords is such a strong business.  The problem is the declining user experience.   The amount of time and number of clicks between the search and the purchase completion is growing.  Often times it can take numerous minutes and scores of clicks or finger swipes in order to complete a simple task such as making a quick payment.

Today, time is money.  A mere second, just a fraction of our life, is precious and valuable.   Anything that wastes it, in my opinion, is not worth doing.

Seconds was created to speed up the payment process, especially on the mobile device.  It removes all the excess layers and allows the essential functions to be completed as fast and as secure as possible.  Seconds was created to give time back to the customer.

That’s why we recently started looking at how to provide the best (read quickest) payment experience on the web.  We stumbled upon an interesting discovery, merging Search and Payments into a rich user experience.

Who do you want to pay?

Imagine being met with this statement… what do you do with it?  You could simply search a person, business or organization’s name and Seconds could find them based on our database or Facebook and other open graphs.  Same for twitter @username.  Using phone number, you could find them on Seconds or if not, invite them with quick text.  Same with email, either they are located or invited.

Once the recipient is located on Seconds, you simply enter the amount and make a payment to the merchant.  You also have the ability to see what they are offering (via keywords) and the prices associated.

Keywords offer the most intriguing possibilities of the future of search and payments. Imagine searching Pizza, Sandwich or Mariners on Seconds and being able to find something close by and quickly make a payment.

Already, Seconds allows merchant’s to create any number of keywords with dollar amounts associated.  Anytime a repeat customer sends the keyword to the merchant’s Seconds number via text message, a transaction instantly takes place.  Notice how the repeat experience can bypass what would at this point in the commercial relationship be considered a time waster.  An instant payment via text – it’s magic.

Yet the resulting data – keywords indexed and the inherent value associated – is the strongest future prospect.  Seconds indexes those keywords so indeed, they are also searchable.  This opens up a vibrant and rich search commerce experience void of the millions of worthless links Google provides us today.   The problem with Google is the deluge of information has muddled our user experience.  It takes me longer to search, find and make a purchase than I would like, which in the end frustrates me.

Its time Search was rebuilt with deeper purposes in mind, outside of indexing the entire world.  There’s just too much data and links out there to satisfy any user experience.

As Seconds grows and more merchants engage with the system – be it larger brands or smaller sole proprietors – there’s a massive opportunity to build out a more tightly focused commerce engine, one built with mobile at its core.   In this new engine, not only do merchants create an open avenue for people to pay them as easy and quickly as possible, but they now are able to be found via search on a system specifically built for payments and commerce.

Yes, some very interesting possibilities are available once payments and search merge as one.  Possibilities that, quite frankly, I have no idea what would look like right now.  We know this is only the beginning but the foundation being set down right now has very interesting future prospects.  Look for Seconds updated payment system to be released at the end of September, we believe you will be pleasantly surprised.

What If You Could Pay Your Transit Pass With A Simple Text Message?

Have you ever been waiting for the bus only to realize you have no money left on your Orca card, or whatever they call the transit pass in your city?   Maybe you realize you are at zero balance as you are leaving the house and have to grab a few dollars in change just so you can pay for your bus into work?

Yeah, it’s not fun!  And that is why we are changing it.

Now you can refill your transit pass in Seconds.

Here’s A Lesson On Why You Should Listen To Your Early Customers

Here’s a great write up on how Seconds is transforming an office catering business.  Molly’s Salads is one of our early customers, and in fact our most important to date.   Truth be told, they were actually the ones who came to us with the idea for text payments.   Their CEO simply said “can’t we have a system where people just text the word “sandwich” to our number and it automatically charges them?”  We looked at each other without blinking and said “um sure, we can do that!”

From the article:

How does Seconds work from your end, as the merchant?
From our end, it’s super simple. The technology just reads what [customers] text. So if they text SALAD, it just reads SALAD and automatically bills their card for whatever the price of a salad is. That is built right in. The sales go directly through us. We plug in our gateway, and it goes directly into our bank account. The only work we have to do is when somebody has an issue. When they say, “My card’s not working,” or “There’s none of this left in the fridge,” that comes straight to my email. I can respond through my email, and it goes straight to their phone. Everything is automatically billed, and then I can monitor how sales are going by going to my dashboard.

read the entire article….

As we walked out of the initial meeting I looked at my CTO and said “dude, he’s dreaming.”  He just chuckled.  Amazingly, we ended up building it within a month or so and the rest is history.  Multi-billion dollar, multi-national corporations are reaching out from all over the world are now expressing interest in what we are doing.  It’s awesome and we owe it to Molly’s Salads for leading us towards this cool concept.

Below is the simple way people are paying for Molly’s food using Seconds.

How Seconds Makes Your Phone Number Your New Payment Identity

The device you hold in your hand has more potential to change your life than you think.  We find that no more fascinating than with the future of payments.  With Seconds, consumers create an account which is tied to their device and identified by their phone number.  After quickly connecting a payment credential to the Seconds account and with necessary PIN codes or security layer in place, making transactions can be as simple as giving your phone number.

Now you can leave your wallet at home!

It can also be a quick as sending a short text.  We have already proved that one with our Pay-By-Text system and plan to roll out more pilot tests.  (Please reach out to me if you are interested!)

Imagine how much better life will be when we are not held back by plastic cards and old school paper bills and coins.  Innovative mobile payment platforms such as Seconds break the chain requiring physical presence and disassociate proximity from transaction.  A whole new world of payments is opening up.

Go on a run and pay for a gatorade at the local market by giving your number

Send a quick text to pay for gas without having to have your credit card.

Pay for groceries by typing in your phone number

Pay your rent by texting ‘RENT – 1,000′ to your landlord’s Seconds number

Square up the food bill with your friend by texting ‘PAY – 20′ to their phone

We are not too far off from this scenario and even right now we are programed to type in our phone number to identify our “buying club cards” such as this one at Safeway.  I think you are starting to see where things are going… maybe Safeway was onto something??  I think we are too!

@jnickhughes