Chad Blair’s baby business is buynow, an app that transforms your smartphone into your very own self checkout. You just walk into a participating store, scan your items, pay for them on your phone and walk out. No queues. No hassles.
I came up with the idea before going to the first Startup Weekend here in Christchurch in February last year. It came out of my experience in retail and the pain I felt having to stand in long queues at supermarkets. I thought mobile technology could truly change the way we shop and improve the customer experience.
In my former life, I spent almost 15 years in a variety of retail roles. I’ve always had that entrepreneurial streak in me but was always a bit nervous about giving it a go. The earthquakes literally shook that out of me!
I think that the payments sector really hasn’t been too ready for this to some degree and there is some ‘fear of the unknown’ for a lot of small businesses. Once we show them the value that can be taken from this sort of platform, though, that fear tends to subside.
The reaction from retailers has been a mixed bag. Some of the more tech-savvy retailers get it straight away but others have been more cautious.
There are competitors for buynow both locally and globally. I think it’s a good thing, because it validates our idea and also our future goals. I think we’ll see more competitors here in New Zealand too, as the mobile payments movement continues.
Outside of the buynow world I have a beautiful, supportive wife and two gorgeous daughters who I devote my time to when I get ‘spare’ time.
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