90% of the US are living in a radically different frame of reference…

Brian Roemmele wrote a great Quora post on the Accepting Payment Cards board.

The payments guru and Quora all-star wrote about a new program by Walmart that allows customers to order online > pay for the order with cash or a cash equivalent in a store within 48 hours > get the order shipped to their house.

To most Quora readers and even readers of my blog, this won’t sound very sexy. However, what Walmart did was very smart; from their product discovery process, solution definition and execution.

As Brian expresses, Walmart did what every product manager, startup and entrepreneur should do… they went out and listened to their customers. A Walmart survey concluded, “The majority of transactions at Walmart stores are paid with cash or cash equivalent, including debit cards,according to the company, and only about 15 percent of transactions are paid by credit.”

The tech world loves to harp on new and exciting technologies. Techcrunch writes about a brand new “innovative” payment service every other day. That’s great; innovation is great. However, what we all need to keep in mind is what Brian stated: “When I speak to, or in some cases, try to speak to, startup companies aiming to sell great Payment products and ideas outside of the tech savvy early adopters I bring up the 90% of the US that are living in a radically different frame of reference.

My point here has little to do with the payments industry but just product ideas and startups in general. We need to put ourselves in the shoes of the actual customer and user. More times than not, it won’t be the tech savvy early adopter. It’s going to be people who are nothing like you or your friends. There is still lots of room for successful products and businesses to form around process improvements and experience improvements that don’t require crazy new technological advances as made evident by Walmarts new program.

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