These add up to the same point: mobile payments/wallets need to "mature" (add customer-friendly features) to get wider adoption. Passbook is specifically designed to provide the kind of features that Accenture calls for. It fills a gap in the mobile payments landscape.
1. Customers demand delightful, magical experiences. Passbook adds that.
As Accenture pointed out, customers need more "carrots." They have high expectations, rightfully so, since mobile phones are incredibly powerful tool. They don't just want a mere duplicate of their old experience, they want something new and more powerful.
We've seen this very clearly with our results. When our coupons were mere duplicates of paper coupons, the results were blah. When we made our coupons high-tech and novel, our results zoomed 1800%.
Paying for products is the least fun part of any shopping trip... usually a quick utilitarian process. So making the payment process exciting or magical is pretty tough. On the other hand, coupons, store cards, shopping cards, and tickets can be made fun and a little magical. They can be used in interactive ways to explore the shop, find new products, get points, play games, and many other things that nobody has thought of yet. Coupons, cards, and tickets can be the fun half of the experience, while payments are the business half.
The payment function is by nature a restrictive, careful process (as it should be). It doesn't allow for much creativity or 3rd party input.
But customers demand novelty and originality from mobile phones, so it's a real dilemma: mobile payment providers must be very cautious with their product, but customers still want the novelty. Passbook solves that dilemma by giving an "entry point" for original content provided by developers, opening the mobile wallet ecosystem to more innovation.
Note that the Passbook architecture was clearly designed for this goal...to be open to developers, yet with a spam-free, reliable environment.
3. Coupons and tickets have more room to improve.
Payments are an ultra-competitive market and already extremely , already very efficiently serviced by credit cards. As many people have pointed out, the current model of payments works fine--there's not much to fix.
Coupons, tickets, gift cards and other marketing components of retail, are a highly IN-efficient field. Coupons are widely criticized by consumers and retailers alike because of their flaws and primitive nature, but they are still needed because they provide the all-important function of new customer acquisition for retailers.
Thus coupons and tickets have more room for improvement, and more problems to be solved for customers.
4. Retailers care more about marketing.
The retailers we talk to simply don't dwell much on payments. For the most part, they get paid. The fees are irritating but new competion is already crunching those fees.
What retailers care about is getting new customers in the door. That's a place where new concepts like Passbook, used in a myriad of creative and fun ways, can add big new value.
By extension, Passbook creates more reasons for retailers to pay attention to mobile wallets in general.
Here's an article in which Level Up CEO Seth Priebatsch says essentially the same thing. He notes that retail marketing is $200 billion/year compared to interchange fees of $50 billion/year.
5. Passbook is memory-resident in 100 million iPhones -- no problem getting users to download because it's already there.
One of the big obstacles to mobile wallets is just getting people to download the apps. There seems a deep resistance that many people have to downloading apps in general and payment apps in specific.
Passbook bypasses that limitation completely. It's already on almost all iPhones and as we've stated before, it's incredibly easy to get users to "try" Passbook (10 seconds to download a pass vs. 1-2 minutes to download a mobile app).
6. World Wide Web as an analogy.
The World Wide Web is an example that the mobile wallet industry should emulate. When the Web was introduced decades ago, was it just "a place to make electronic copies of documents"? No.
The magic of the Web, and the reason it was a fundamental breakthrough in the human world, was hyperlinking. Web pages were much more than "duplicates of paper documents" but were dramatically more powerful because of the concept of hyperlinking and other dynamic content.
in a similar way, mobile wallets won't be successful as mere replicas of physical wallets. Mobile wallet content needs to go beyond it's paper precursors if we want the concept to catch on with the public. The "active, updatable" content provided in Passbook architecture is the place to start.
There are still obstacles to Passbook use. It's a separate app, so how do other mobile wallet products integrate it smoothly into their experience? Nevertheless it provides an important next step in maturing the mobile payment/mobile wallet ecosystems.