Friday, November 1, 2013
How Sekur.me Wants To Use Cell Phones To Fix Abandoned Shopping Carts
Story by Benjamin F. Kuo
Is your cell phone the secret to fixing e-commerce's problem with abandoned shopping carts? Sekur.me, a new Santa Ana-based startup, has come up with a new app and service to use your cell phone for payment, bypassing the complexity of shopping carts. We spoke with CEO and founder Jack Bicer--just back from DEMO--to learn more about the app and why he thinks the company has the solution to e-commerce shopping cart abandonment.
Explain what your service/app is all about?
Jack Bicer: Sixty-six percent of shopping carts are abandoned, and, on the average, it takes five steps to complete a shopping cart, which can take anywhere from a few minutes to ten minutes. About 12 percent of those shopping carts are abandoned because they're too complex or it takes too long. What we do, is we provide the capability for users to pay for those purchases using their mobile phone. The can scan and pay for thing within a second, without having to type anything.
So this is for e-commerce sites, not in person purchases?
Jack Bicer: Any e-commerce site can be enabled for Sekur.me. We're basically addressing the same problems that the new Amazon Payments is trying to address, except we've got a superior user experience.
Why use a mobile phone for payment, rather than something like Amazon or Paypal?
Jack Bicer: Even if you have everything laid out in Amazon or PayPal, you still have to go through many steps. With our app, it's easier than entering your credit card information, your billing information, and shipping information. Plus, we do two-factor, authenticated payments, because every transaction is verified by a user's secure phone print. That secure phone authentication is you and your phone, which creates a dynamic digital signature that is virtually impossible to replicate. We verify that this is coming for you before any payment information is sent. That makes it much safer, also reduce fraud, and cuts down on payment friction, which can increase revenues by as much as 35 percent.
Where are you in terms of launch, and what inspired you to start up the company?
Jack Bicer: We have already launched, and have production sites. We started because of abandoned shopping carts. It takes too long to buy something on the Internet. Plus, we do a couple of other things, including anonymous payments--if you are purchasing something confidential, we make sure it stays confidential. You don't have to provide your name and address just to pay for a service over the Internet. That's been a feature that has attracted a lot of attention.
Talk about your background?
Jack Bicer: I've been in the software development business for over 30 years. My two previous inventions, uninstall and automatic software updates, run on every computer and smartphone today. I've been involved in custom software and payment processing for a long time. One piece of software I developed has processed over 700,000 online payments. The uninstall was an interesting story--I was working on Norton Desktop at Symantec, and I was in charge of the installation process. If you remember, Norton Desktop was a suite of 10-12 products under one umbrella. Inm the early days of Norton Antivirus, the beta software was notoriously unstable. We ended up having to wipe machines and reinstall everything back then, and I though there had to be a better way. I came up with the idea for uninstall, mentioned it to the management committee, and they told me--Jack, we're in the software business, we want people to run our software--and you want us to provide the ability to remove our software from a user's computer? That's a really dumb idea, go do your job. I ended up developing uninstall on my own time, and when I mentioned it again, I didn't even call it a separate program, it was install with a /u option, and asked if we could please put it in the product because it seemed like a useful option. That's how uninstall got started. I have yet to receive a thank you from Symantec or Microsoft for uninstall, which is now in the public domain.
With automatic software updates, I was working at Quotron at the time. I don't know if you recall, but they make stock market brokerage systems, and have some 80 percent share of the market. They're currently owned by Reuters. I ended up there for some strange reason, and they said--Jack, our installation program needs a lot of help, can you please take care of that one. So, that's what I was working on. We were sending lots of software updates to our customers, which came on a large number of floppies, and I came up with the idea--in the pre-Internet days--to use our data feeds. We had data feeds coming from Rochester, New York, to spread our real time, stock market data to the whole world. I thought--why don't we take advantage of our network, and and also send out software updates the same way, so we don't have to send upteenth floppies to users for software updates. I designed and implemented that system, and that became the first automated software updates.
What's next for your startup?
Jack Bicer: Our next big goal is we're looking for some funding to, to get our customer acquisition into high gear.