The Bean is a small chain of coffee shops with three locations in New York City’s East Village. Given the sluggish economy and stiff competition from corporate giants like Starbucks, the small business could have closed its doors for good after losing its lease on a space at the corner of Third Street and First Avenue in 2011. Instead, the company looked for ways to differentiate itself from others in its market.
One of the improvements the Bean made was adding the capability to accept mobile payments. Today, its customers can download a free mobile wallet app, link their credit or debit card accounts to their smartphones, and pay for purchases with mobile-payment technology. In addition, patrons can redeem digital coupons or loyalty rewards without having to rummage through a purse or a wallet for a punch card.
From Coffee to Cakes and Pies
Another New York small business that has embraced mobile-payment technology is the Little Pie Company in the city’s Theater District. For more than a quarter century, the shop has prepared pies, cakes, and other treats for residents and tourists — many of whom are lured into the shop after watching bakers slice fruit, mix fillings, shape crusts, and slip pies into the oven through its front window.
Those who succumb to temptation can now buy a treat or two from the Little Pie Company with their smartphones. The company says this convenience encourages impulse purchases and repeat business.
Mobile Residents Use Mobile Payments
Unlike in many U.S. cities, mobile-payment technology is fast becoming part of the daily lives of New Yorkers. Big Apple residents can use their smartphones to pay for subway and train fares, and many taxi services in the five boroughs accept mobile payments as well.
In fact, New York Waterway, which operates ferries between Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn, began offering its own digital app earlier this year, which allows riders to use their smartphones for electronic ticketing. The app also provides patrons with schedules, route maps, and other ferry-related information.
New Yorkers are trendsetters and problem-solvers. These qualities are quite prevalent among the city’s small-business owners, especially those who have embraced mobile payments. They’re a big reason why New York is one of the most dynamic and forward-thinking cities in the world.