Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Philadelphia’s Buttercream Cupcake Truck accepting mobile payments

The cupcake merchant is using Xipwire to enable mobile payments. Consumers that use the service can pay for their cupcakes via text message and don’t have to wait on a long line.

“I want to make it easier for my customers to get my cupcakes without carrying cash,” said Kate Carrara, owner of the Buttercream Cupcake Truck. “Xipwire allows me to track my sales, transfer money and provides my customers with a secure way to pay for items on the truck.

“The most difficult part of my job is handling cash,” she said. “Since Xipwire’s revolutionary technology allows consumers to text me a payment, it makes my life and my business that much easier.”

Buttercream is a unique mobile business that uses the Web and social networking sites to find the “hottest” spots in town, and bring the masses its cupcakes. The company hopes to add a second truck this year, which will focus on brownies, cookies and other dessert delicacies.

Consumers can create an account with Xipwire by texting the keyword CONNECT to 56624.

Now that owner Kate Carrara is accepting Xipwire mobile payments, her line can move more quickly.

Ms. Carrara claims she is spending less time counting cash and making change and more time making people’s day with her must-have treats.

Xipwire also offers Buttercream peace of mind for when the truck comes around for the afterhour’s crowd, as the owner doesn’t worry about how much cash she is driving around with.

“I have done the research and feel that the security of Xipwire’s platform makes it the best choice for me and my customers,” Ms. Carrara said.

Mobile Commerce Daily’s Giselle Tsirulnik interviewed Sharif J. Alexandre, founder of Xipwire. Here is what he said:

What is the strategy for the Buttercream Cupcake Truck?
The Buttercream Cupcake Truck is a Philly sensation that uses social media to find the hottest spots in town to sell cupcakes to the masses.  People from all walks of life weather freezing temperatures and long lines to get a chance to experience a taste of this “goodness”. 

Unfortunately, until now, you had to carry cash to savor these tasty treats.  Our goal is to offer Kate Carrera, owner of the Buttercream Cupcake Truck, a payment technology that allows her to focus less on cash and focus more on cupcakes.

According to Kate, “I needed a good reliable software platform to make payments, and track my sales. Thus far, working on a cash system has proven unreliable at best, in addition to simple safety concerns. I looked at all my options and determined that allowing my customer to become comfortable “texting to pay” was the future of my business. No one wants to carry cash, a wallet. But everyone has a phone with them. It just makes sense.”

For her customers, we want to offer them the convenience of being able to indulge their sweet tooth even when they don’t have exact change. With a Xipwire account, Buttercream fans can now walk by the truck and essentially get a cupcake with a simple text message.

We believe working with Kate is a great way to introduce Xipwire to her fans throughout the Philadelphia area through her extensive social network.  By working together, we hope to educate the consumer about the safety and simplicity of this exciting new technology so they’ll soon be “xipping” Buttercream for their next cupcake.

Why mobile?
Xipwire is all about simplicity, security and convenience and this fits in perfectly with the needs of food truck vendors or with businesses that can’t easily accept credit cards.  For business owners, using a payment platform that uses the mobile phone as the payment tool allows for a far greater reach of customers than simply accepting cash or credit. 

According to Kate, “I believe my customer is like me. If I could leave the house and only bring my phone with me, and know that I could make secure transactions and follow my
purchases in real time, that is going to simplify my whole life. I need that simplicity and security for my customer. ”

How does Xipwire help achieve the strategy?
Xipwire’s goal is to make mobile payments a reality by making it easy for the customer to use and cost-effective for the business to accept. Our low transaction fees, which are about half of a typical credit or debit card transaction, were established so that businesses of all sizes can benefit from this exciting new technology.  For the consumer, we’ve made the sign up process as easy as texting CONNECT to 56624 so they can quickly establish their XIPWIRE account.  Once setup, they can send money to family and friends, as well as pay for
goods and services, using a simple text message.

In addition to convenience, XIPWIRE’s mobile payment platform offers businesses and customers a measure of security not typically found with other payment providers.  For example, unlike credit and debit cards, customers can pay for goods and services while remaining completely anonymous using our Anonymous ID feature.  Merchants, on the other hand, can reduce fraud by instantly verifying the customer’s identity using our Security Photo framework.

Finally, Xipwire built its secure mobile platform to work with text messaging (SMS) since it’s a universal application that works on almost every phone, requiring no special software to be downloaded. This allows XIPWIRE to be used both for Person-to-Person (P2P) and Consumer-to-Business (C2B) transactions which can be initiated by practically anyone with a mobile phone.

What is the current state of Mobile payments? What are the challenges of mobile payments?
Although it’s been around for a while, and already widely adopted in Africa and Asia, the concept of Mobile Payments is just beginning to gain momentum in the U.S.   The major challenge that faces mobile payment adoption is combating inertia —  we already have an established financial infrastructure where the majority of the population has access to bank accounts as well as credit and debit cards. 

Unlike developing countries, essentially there is no real need to adopt a new payment technology.  The compelling argument for the majority of American consumers, therefore, won’t be one of necessity but be one of convenience.  Clearly we’re at a tipping point where people’s phones have evolved from simply being a mobile telephone to becoming an integral part of their lives.  The recent outpouring of support for Haiti through text messaging has shown, that in addition to downloading games and ringtones, the public is also ready to
conduct financial transactions.  

 As mobile payments become more commonplace, a key challenge will be educating consumers about the safety and security of mobile transactions so they’re comfortable initiating payments with a something as simple as text message.