For years – if not centuries – we have been tokenizing in commerce:
First, the goat herder at the market square had to trade his goat for a piece of parchment and twenty eggs at one vendor so that he could then trade the parchment for some cloth and the eggs for vegetables at another vendor – one that needed no goat, but had use for parchment.
Then came money.
Coins that allowed faster trade because the goat herder didn’t have to worry about vegetarian cloth dealers.
Coins became the token for the goat… and the cloth … and the vegetables.
Then trade boomed, and cash registers were needed – that’s where progress basically stopped, but I’ll get to that later.
Customers stood in lines, waiting to trade their tokenized goats for vegetables… the register queue was born on that day as well.
As too many coins became annoying, paper bank notes were created as tokens for the money… And, with too many paper bank notes, cards were created as tokens for notes – or if you will, as tokens for the tokens for the tokens for the goat and the cloth and the vegetables.
They called is progress – but did it get rid of the register queues? Nope.
Shortened them a bit … maybe.
A tiny bit.
Now, these cards became easy to counterfeit – much easier than the coins (and much, much easier than the goat) – so technology provided the wonderful world of commerce with little tiny EMV chips, which tokenized the cards that tokenized the notes that tokenized the coins that tokenized the goats, the cloth and the vegetables. The registers had meanwhile been augmented by tiny black boxes called POS terminals … making that side more complex instead of less… and we still had those register queues.
Then we went contactless.
Oh! The joys sung around the world for this brave giant step in progress!
Only took ten years of singing before a handful of people were willing to try it, but such is the price for progress nobody wants.
So where are we now?
We have dematerialized the goat.
We have demateiralized the bank note.
We have dematerialized the coin.
We have dematerialized the card,
And have even dematerialized its little chip.
We have a token for the token of the token for the token of the token for the token.
And we still have cash registers, POS terminals, and register queues.
Maybe it’s time to start work on the other side of the counter?
Until we have dematerialized the cash register – and it’s annoying little black box called POS terminal – we will never get rid of the one thing that really annoys the customer – the need to stand in a line to make a purchase.
Commerce is screaming for the abolition of the register queue –
It is time for CNP@POS!!
Foto source: Scene from „Novgorod Marketplace“, a painting by Appolinary Vasnetsov (1856-1933).