Viewpoint: A Futuristic Cashless, Interconnected Society
A woman walks into a small organic juice bar off a busy street in the East Village, a vibrant lower Manhattan neighborhood, and is greeted cheerfully by the young, sophisticated owner behind the counter. A quiet modern beat fills the colorful space with energy and a range of fresh fruit sits in large painted ceramic bowls on the counter.
Instead of reading the menu up high on a chalkboard, she shares a code with the owner generated by her phone who verifies it through his iPad. In a beat, no paper receipts or exchange of cash or credit, she blissfully glides out the door smoothie in hand. Within seconds she has friends sending messages about the order to her through Treatmo sharing their enthusiasm and even repeating the purchase.
Cashless, effortless, transactions like this one occur right now in New York City neighborhoods of SoHo, Chelsea and the East Village to Williamsburg, Bushwick and Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn. They happen in Santa Monica, California, just a few blocks from the beach, in farmer's markets across the U.S. and in Burlington, Vermont, next to the Winooski River. For users of Treatmo app, the need to carry cash or even pull out a wallet when dining or getting food is quietly disappearing.
A society where cash is no longer carried by consumers is still in the distance but the gap is closing. There is an imperceptible shift occurring where technology on smart phones is allowing customers to make payments at merchants wallet free. Treatmo aims to accelerate the shift and do it in a way that creates community and empowers discovery from payments interconnecting people like never before.
Treatmo is a universal app which cafes, restaurants, juice bars, bakeries and food businesses alike join to create a store front. Directly from the app, users make purchases from menus, their favorites or photos of items previously purchased that are in their news feed. The app generates a code to redeem when the user visits the establishment or schedules delivery or shipping.
The merchant system is web based. The tool is simple enough that it can be understood within a few seconds and requires no intense installations or IT support. Vouchers are validated on any Internet-enabled device, keeping counter space clear of additional equipment such as printers and scanners, providing a method to accept payment quickly and start generating orders. Eliminating the card swipe and lock boxes for cash, Treatmo is an immediate mobile store front solution for businesses.
When using Treatmo, the shopping experience is transformed. Suddenly a payment begins to feel less transactional and more about people, and not just because the phone replaces cash and plastic. Using a credit card seems like no big deal until you add up the number of times you've handed over a credit card throughout the day where you become a swiping machine. The use of Treatmo creates a different type of interaction altogether. It brings life to mobile payments with photos blogs, sharing with friends, and building and inspiring a community with what you buy.
The digital transaction in the app is just the starting point. Treatmo envisions a world where mobile payments have more power than newfound convenience. It has the ability to connect the world through the wallet and the interactions that result post-purchase.
When something is paid for or bought in the app, Treatmo generates a post in a news feed, the 'Treat Feed', which other users can see (options for public and private feeds are available too). The post to the feed allows others to see what was bought, where, what it looks like, and to purchase it for themselves instantly from the photo. Message threads highlight feelings about places and items and photos involve others in the experience. Instant awareness and digital word of mouth within the network triggers interest, buzz and more purchases.
Within seconds, a user living in San Francisco is notified of a friend's purchase made in New York City and replicates the purchase instantly from the photo or buys it for a friend as a treat. This hyper awareness from the transmission of purchasing events in the app connects people globally around society's most prevalent activity -- shopping. The interconnectedness enhances participation of friends and family across distances who feel present with the user while they enjoy their favorite foods and explore new things. The intimate experience makes others feel included.
Through Treatmo's mobile payment platform--which allows customers to treat friends too--we're introducing features that promote gratitude and kindness including digital loyalty and gifting. With loyalty, points accrue at participating businesses instantly without punchcards or acquiring private personal information from patrons, and merchants can allocate more points to customers treating their friends. Further, gifting is simplified - physical gift cards disappear and gift amounts are managed entirely by the app. Intelligent and advanced search features help users locate businesses offering loyalty with ease too. By opting to use Treatmo, users gain much greater value before, during, and after a purchase than any traditional transaction could offer.
As the center from which paying for items occurs, customers achieve a sense of control over their environment and spending behavior through Treatmo. In one glance, a user can see where they've eaten recently, what they ordered, who they treated and where they want to go next. As platform to eat better, Treatmo's news feed of healthful food can also be contagious.
Treatmo sees the interconnections through the app as more than just the workings of a network. Instead it's a path forward for artificial intelligence to enhance daily life. It will be only a few iterations of the app before a smartphone is able to tell the user that their favorite kind of food is nearby, or gauge how a user is feeling to preorder an item from their favorites. Treatmo will be able to recognize patterns of past purchases to make recommendations, instead of external advertisers informing decisions. When Treatmo eventually links outward to other technologies such as wearable tech, the app will also have the ability to pre-purchase food that's diet appropriate based on fitness data or replenish with nourishing food at the exact moment needed.
Being able to replicate purchases beyond food or beverages is nearing as well so users can duplicate the purchase, for instance, of an airline ticket made by a family member for an upcoming vacation with greater ease.
When our founder first envisioned Treatmo as tool for buying cold-pressed juice between family members who lived on opposite sides of the U.S., she established a way not only to pay for and share a nutritious beverage without cash or a wallet, but also to bring people together in a space for sharing kindness and gratitude across distances, creating warmth and building community.
Today we are on a quest to build from that and do much more.
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Treatmo Co-Founder, Spiro Zefferys, is a serious hiker, loves cooking and plant-based food innovation. He's a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and has worked throughout Asia and Europe as a product engineer. He has scuba dived in Borneo, speaks Malay and has hiked the Grand Canyon from rim to rim.
Anna, Founder and CEO of Treatmo, has a nose for the next big thing, loves traveling and exploring food and flavor of all cultures. She's been all over the world for work and fun while living in New York City's East Village. She barely escaped a dog attack in Moscow, helped pull a man out of the East River in New York, and more recently saved a cormorant, William.