There was much excitement down at CHYP End when Topshop announced they were collaborating with bPay to produce a collection of wearables. As these were wearables aimed at the younger market, aiming to make contactless easier, we sent our frontline crack shopping team off to try them out. Unfortunately no one in Topshop in Guildford had heard of this astonishing breakthrough at the intersection of fashion and technology, so not a great start, but we were advised to try the main store in Regent Street in London, as they are normally ahead in new lines. Luckily, however, Topshop have a web site that works pretty well, so with a few clicks of the mouse, and “securely” entering card details into the web (there has to be a better way, but that’s another blog….) a few wearables were ordered and on their way.
A few days later our wearable goodies arrived, along with instructions on how to download the companion app and set it up ready to pay.
The bracelets themselves are clearly aimed for the younger, slimmer wristed female, luckily we have plenty of volunteers in that category! Jess was the first to step forward to try and get things going, however the app download process proved painful, with lots of outages and fails. Once downloaded it crashed several times during the set up process and so with more pressing things to do, she gave up. Oh dear.
Gloria was next to take up the challenge, and she’s pretty determined, so other Jess, Sam and her (with much perseverance) managed to get the app set up. So we had three wearables and mobile companion apps ready.
(App designers please note: these are normal people and had they not been bound by a sense of duty to CHYP they would never have bothered to try and try again like this.)
Armed and ready to shop we let them loose on the streets of Guildford.
The results? Well, apart from falling off a little too easily, the bracelets worked remarkably well, there were no issues at all with making the payments (and with some interest from the till operators!). Topping up via the companion app was straightforward too.
However ,Sam had drawn the short straw and couldn’t get the iPhone case to work. The shop assistants were very helpful (they’re now very used to people from CHYP trying out all manner of strange payment instruments in Guildford) in helping Sam try to get the phone case to work, but sadly it didn’t.
Back in the office we set about working out what went wrong, since the bPay card had worked flawlessly when tested against our barrage of sophisticated test tools, and so to when tested in the iPhone case. However add an iPhone into the case and it all stops! The metal backed iPhone seemed to interfere with the signal preventing payments but we ran out of time to figure out exactly what the problem was. No matter what was or was not enabled, put an iPhone 6 in a bPay Luxe Leather iPhone 6 case and what you have is an iPhone case.
So what are our conclusions? Adding a contactless case to a phone that already has contactless may not be the focus of the fashionistas so put that to one side. The bracelets worked well. Overall, the main problem with the wearables was not the devices themselves but the companion app. It proved difficult to load and once loaded it crashed anyway. You have to be pretty persistent to get through the set-up process.
Finally, as Sam hadn’t managed to make a payment with her phone we sent her off with the Luxe wristband to buy something in Topshop.
When she got there… “We don’t accept contactless payments”.
You can’t make this stuff up.