In the near future no one at Aeropostale or Foot Locker will need to fuss with filthy, disgusting credit and debit cards when they wish to purchase clothing and footwear — they will be able to simply tap their phones to a point-of-sale terminal. ISIS has released a list of its partner merchants, both nationwide and in two test markets — Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City.
ISIS, the mobile wallet application supported by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, promises to “fundamentally transform how people shop, pay and save” by allowing users to tap their phones rather than swipe a card when they pay for something cashlessly.
One of the hurdles to transforming the way we shop, of course, is merchant adoption. ISIS can have as many users as there are smartphone-havers on the planet, but it will be utterly meaningless if they cannot tap their phones when they wish to part ways with their money. To avoid this, ISIS will need merchant partners — and now it has them.
Among the nationwide partners ISIS announced Wednesday are well-known brands like Coca-Cola, Champs Sports, Aeropostale, Foot Locker, Jamba Juice, Dillard’s and Macy’s. On top of this, ISIS has announced partnerships with local businesses in Salt Lake City and Austin that include local sports franchises and stadiums, local retailers and local restaurants and cafes.
“By systematically building out merchant acceptance in an approach that is both geographically focused and centered around everyday spending, ISIS intends to create a comprehensive mobile commerce experience for consumers that will simultaneously benefit merchants of all sizes,” said Rick Oglesby, a senior analyst with Aite Group, in prepared remarks.
Location, location, location
Of course, ISIS does not exist solely to make point-of-sale transactions more frictionless, it also seeks to create a platform for merchant and location-based deals. It has been difficult for local merchants to make smartphones work to their benefit — frequently consumers use them to comparison shop on the web while in physical stores, much to the detriment of physical retailers’ bottom line. With a more robust mobile wallet user base, physical retail can, in theory, take advantage of its locality by pinging consumers with special offers when they’re nearby.
In prepared remarks, Jim Stapleton, chief sales officer of ISIS, described the product as “a mobile commerce experience that transforms how consumers shop and interact with their favorite brands.”
High hopes (and presumably a few careers) are riding on the success of the mobile wallet. Finally, it seems that we will be able to see if ISIS can do all it promises to.