Samsung Pay adds image search to drive purchases
Mobile giant Samsung is rolling out new features for Samsung Pay, including camera-driven shopping searches through the Bixby virtual assistant, cash back offers on purchases through retail partners and the ability to buy rewards points through the Samsung Rewards program, the company announced in a blog post.
The Bixby Shopping feature is available on the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+, and leverages the camera-based Bixby Vision capability, allowing users to launch a shopping search for an item by pointing the smartphone camera at it. Bixby then identifies the item, and directs the user to a partner website where it can be purchased.
The Cash Back feature can be accessed through the home screen of the Samsung Pay app, and displays exclusive offers from Samsung retail partners like Walmart, eBay, Warby Parker, Instacart, Etsy and others. Purchasing an offered item instantly results in the cash back amount being deposited in a customer's Samsung Pay wallet, the blog post stated.
The blog post, authored by Nana Murugesan, vice president and general manager of services and new business at Samsung, pointed out that in adding these new features Samsung is looking to open up new channels for mobile shopping, and transform Samsung Pay from just a payments app to a "holistic shopping experience."
While that sounds like a grand vision, it's one that many other major payment apps are chasing in their own ways. The landscape of mobile shopping apps is changing, and the goal is to make it as easy as possible for consumers to shop anywhere at any time in as few steps as possible. More mobile shopping channels could very well mean fewer shoppers starting their shopping journeys in specific retailer apps or on specific retailer websites.
Bringing Bixby in on camera-driven shopping searches should give Samsung Pay users a quicker path to purchase, enabling Samsung's retail partners to get their share of that booming opportunity. The other new features should do likewise.
Regarding the Cash Back feature, this common credit card reward feature has been gaining new relevance in the mobile age when combined with mobile shopping and payment apps. For example, Discover brought a 10% Cash Back Bonus offer to Apple Pay users back in 2015, and more recently the feature has helped power mobile apps from ShopSavvy and RetailMeNot. The hope, of course, is that getting some cash back directly into the mobile wallet will encourage users to spend more.
The ability for Samsung Pay users to purchase Samsung Rewards points, similar to how travelers can buy extra miles from an airline, should also enable and encourage additional purchasing activity.