Your wallet is like a blanket without sleeves

April 27, 2010 § 1 Comment

Remember the frustrated woman in the Snuggie commercial? She couldn’t get her arms out in time to answer the phone. Then she was fumbling about for the remote. Damn blanket! Then she got her Snuggie – the famous blanket with sleeves that comes in stylish prints and colors. The next scene shows her smiling, changing channels with ease and talking on the phone in comfort.

Shift this experience to the frustrated consumer standing in a long line with three small children in tow, all of which are screaming. Finally, it’s her turn to pay. She pulls out her wallet (which is gigantic because of all the different plastic cards – won’t even close) and those damn cards fall all over the floor. With crying baby on hip, the poor woman bends over and tries to pick up all the cards that just fell out of her over-stuffed wallet. She’s close to tears.

Next scene: With smart phone in hand (most likely an NFC enabled iPhone), the same woman, no longer harried, but patiently comforting her small children, pays for her goods quickly and securely.

The fact is, this technology is awesome and will transform the way we make payments. I could list scene after scene showing how this technology would make my life easier. Unlike the Snuggie, I don’t think it is a fad or a cultural phenomenon, and I don’t think cults will form in opposition.

In a recent article making the business case and strategies for using mobile money to close the gender gap, the author stated that the wide adoption of a mobile payments system must be targeted to women. I couldn’t agree more, both in the U.S. and abroad (however for different reasons).

There seems to be an article or blog post daily questioning whether consumers will adopt a mobile payments model. Going back to the Snuggie analogy… Before the Snuggie was available, most people thought only of improving upon the blanket in style, size, and material.  Snuggie sales have exceeded four million. I’m reminded of a famous quote from Henry Ford:

“If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have asked for a better horse.”

Then there’s the famous line from Field of Dreams…

“If you build it, they will come.”

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