by Omar Green
With buzzwords like “NFC” and “mobile wallet” thrown about in the press ad nauseam, consumers and the mobile and financial industries are looking for who will emerge the winner in the effort to control mobile money – and there’s a great deal of money to be had if it’s done right. But as often as the mobile wallet is lauded for its convenience, it’s derided as “a solution in search of a problem.” Ultimately, in order to meet the real needs of consumers, wallet-makers need to stop focusing solely on the technologies of mobile payments, and actually look at what will drive usage: a mobile solution that is actually worth having. This doesn’t yet exist, but it could, if application developers create tools that actually change the way merchants and consumers feel, think, spend and save money. We will discuss what the true opportunity is for the mobile wallet and the elements that need to be included to move beyond technologies like NFC, to delivering the customer benefit to end users.
Our wallets are one of the last remaining bastions of a pre-digital lifestyle, relics of an era of payment that has since come and gone.
Coupons are now Groupons, rewards cards are digitally stored on our smartphones and Square wants to power all our payments. With all these new ways to slim down and streamline our wallets, why are we still getting a paper receipt every time we check out at the grocery store? With so much progress, why are men still sporting the infamous Costanza bulge and women toting around pocketbooks that look like small filing cabinets? As more commerce shifts from offline to online, and even offline retailers are experimenting with digital marketing & transactions, the Costanza wallet is due for a makeover.
What are the brands and startups that are changing how we think about receipts? What will the implications of Big Data and privacy be in this transition? And what systems will ultimately come to define how we all chronicle our shopping experiences moving forward?
Our wallets have been ceding themselves over to the digital age for quite some time now. It’s about time we took that final leap and made the upgrade to Wallet 2.0.
9th–13th March 2012