Here Comes Another Mobile Wallet: Isis
October brought yet another entrant into the fast-growing mobile payment market. Isis—the joint venture of AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon—had a soft launch on October 22, 2012 in Austin, Texas, and Salt Lake City, Utah.
However, Stacey Higginbotham of GigaOM reports, "Isis, the mobile payment effort launched by the carriers, has launched in Austin, Texas, but I couldn’t find many places that knew about the program or said they accepted Isis payments, despite being listed as participating merchants. This wasn’t the launch I was looking for."
Several people have raised the issue that the mobile wallet may be the case of a cool feature that no one really wants.
Consumer Reports tested the service and noted, "The problem is that Isis ‘solves’ a non-existent problem. Consumers are perfectly happy making payments with credit or debit cards in the blink of an eye; by contrast, making an Isis payment took about 30 seconds, when we put a stopwatch to one trade-show demo."
We recently tried to make a purchase via another mobile payment platform using a Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Google Wallet at a big box store. The experience was, um, okay. We had to explain to the clerk what we wanted to do and then demonstrate how the process worked.
Needless to say, this took longer than the swipe of a credit card, debit card, or paying with good old cash. The clerk at the register was philosophical. “Technology’s always changing,” he told us.
From a merchant perspective, paying via a smartphone is yet another way to enable consumers to purchase services, as well as an opportunity to help develop more loyal customers.
And, as Steve Jobs once said, “People don't know what they want until you show it to them.”
Have you ever worked on a project that tried to solve a non-existent problem? What lessons did you walk away with? Add your story in the comment section below.