"Commerce Weekly" entries
PayPal snags two big partners, NFC is in the "Trough of Disillusionment," and a look at mobile commerce trends.
Here are a few stories that caught my eye this week in the commerce space.
The race is on
Earlier this month, mobile payment company Square teamed up with Starbucks to bring mobile payment to the coffee mogul’s 7,000 locations and millions of customers. This week, PayPal stepped up its game with two announcements. First, according to a report at Reuters, the company confirmed rumors that it’s running a mobile payment test with fast food giant McDonald’s at 30 of its locations in France.
Alistair Barr describes the program in the Reuters report, explaining that customers can order lunch on their smartphones or online, pay with PayPal, and pick up their orders in a separate line. McDonald’s has more than 30,000 locations worldwide — landing this partnership not only could catapult PayPal ahead of Square in the mobile payment race, but it will bring mobile payments to the everyday lives of the masses, further mainstreaming the idea of mobile wallets and mobile payment.
Upping the ante further, PayPal also announced a partnership with Discover that, according to Ryan Kim’s report at GigaOm, will bring PayPal payments to some seven million U.S. merchants. Through the deal, Discover will integrate PayPal’s payment system into its point-of-sale software, which alleviates involvement and investment from merchants. During its launch, planned for April 2013, the system will be a bit clunky, but it’s expected to smooth out quickly thereafter — Kim reports:
“At launch next year, PayPal users will be able to pay with a PayPal Access Card, which connects to a PayPal account and can be funded from a bank account or credit card. Users will be able to use the card in conjunction with a PayPal mobile wallet app, which will deliver e-receipts, offers and other services. But a few months later, PayPal users will be able to pay directly through point-of-sale terminals by entering in a PIN or phone number or by authorizing a payment through their mobile app after sharing their location with the merchant. That will eliminate the need for any cards or traditional wallets and will enable consumers to get the benefits of a digital wallet to receive offers, track spending and tap into loyalty programs.”
PayPal’s VP of retail services Don Kingsborough told Kim this deal with Discover will be “key in achieving ubiquity” to help facilitate consumer adoption.
U.S. retailers launch a mobile payments network, tech is driving the future of shopping, and East vs West Coast shopping stereotypes.
Merchants enter mobile payment arena
With mobile payments on the brink of booming, everyone is angling to get in the game, from payment companies like PayPal and Square to mobile carrier ventures like Isis and Vodaphone to Internet giants like Google. This week, a group of U.S. retailers announced they were taking payment matters into their own hands and planning a joint merchant mobile payments network called Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). And there are some big players involved.
Robin Sidel at The Wall Street Journal reports that 14 merchants have signed on so far, including Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, 7-Eleven, and Lowe’s. Wal-Mart corporate VP and assistant treasurer told Sidel, “We’re open to all partners, but it has to be beneficial to member merchants in a way that improves the system and doesn’t layer on additional costs.”
Saving money appears to be one major motivator behind the new network. Ryan Kim at GigaOm asserts that member merchants are setting themselves up to save money in multiple ways. He writes:
By banding together, they may be able to get better interchange fees from the credit card networks. And in a mobile wallet, they may be able to steer consumers to use their own issued cards or prepaid gift cards. And if an issued card is pulling funds directly from a bank account, they can avoid card fees. You might see retailers offer deals on the spot for consumers who fund a purchase using their bank account through their mobile wallet.
Kim also notes that by launching their own system, the retailers will retain control over their own data and keep it out of third-party hands, pointing out that “Google, for example, is trying to get at the purchase data through Google Wallet.”
No launch date has yet been set for MCX, and Sidel reports that the search for a CEO is underway.
Square and Starbucks unite, same-day delivery from eBay and checking in on the mobile wallet wars.
Here are a few stories that caught my attention in the commerce space this week.
Square gets Starbucks, cash and Howard Schultz
“Beginning this fall, Square will begin processing all U.S. credit and debit card transactions at participating Starbucks stores across their 7,000 locations. Pay with Square users will be able to find a nearby Starbucks in the Square Directory from their iPhone or Android smartphone.”
Ha notes in his post that as part of the partnership, Starbucks also is ponying up $25 million in series D funding for Square and offering up its CEO, Howard Schultz, to serve on Square’s board of directors.
“At the moment, Pay with Square is accepted at around 40,000 locations — mostly neighborhood businesses such as independent coffee shops, restaurants and beauty salons. The agreement with Starbucks will put it in a major nationwide chain for the first time, and therefore puts it in closer competition with Google Wallet, which is already accepted at Home Depot, Office Depot, Starbucks rival Peet’s, Macy’s, RadioShack, 7-Eleven and other major merchants.”
Another important aspect of the agreement is that Starbucks will promote other local Pay with Square merchants “from within a variety of Starbucks digital platforms, including the Starbucks Digital Network and eventually the Starbucks mobile payment application.” As Ha notes in his post, “this catapults Square into the mainstream consciousness for the millions of drones who drop by their local Starbucks on the way to work.”
Apple to buy AuthenTec, PayPal teams up with a newspaper, and Google puts its Wallet in the cloud.
Here are a few stories that caught my attention in the commerce space this week.
Apple looking to secure NFC?
Further fueling the rumors the next gen iPhone will include NFC (there hardly seems to be much doubt at this point), Apple announced this week that it will shell out more than $350 million to buy AuthenTec, a technology company that, as Poornima Gupta and Sinead Carew at Reuters describe, “provides mobile security software licenses to companies like Samsung, and fingerprint sensor technology to computer makers such as Hewlett-Packard Co and Dell Inc.”
As with most things Apple, much speculation ensued as to what this pending purchase will mean for the next iPhone. As noted in the post at Reuters, AuthenTec’s fingerprint sensors are used in mobile phones in Japan to authenticate mobile payments. Erica Ogg at GigaOm runs through the evidence pointing to a pending “iWallet,” including: the launch of Passbook; the 400 million credit cards stored in iTunes; and the fact that “[o]ne of [AuthenTec’s] key products is an NFC chip with on-chip encryption, which is designed specifically for mobile payments.” Ogg notes that it’s possible Apple purchased the company so its competitors couldn’t, but points out that “AuthenTec is considered a leader in the secure mobile payments field.”
After the recent NFC hacking demonstration at Black Hat, Apple’s intended acquisition of AuthenTec has also fueled speculation that Apple is looking to provide a level of NFC security that nobody else has. Ian Paul at PCWorld points out that “AuthenTec’s expertise could help Apple bolster the security of any NFC feature it implements. This would also make the iPhone and iPad more appealing to security-conscious IT managers at large corporations.”
Mobile payment conjecture aside, Maribel Lopez at Forbes argues that, sure, Apple could use this company’s technology to help advance the “stalled” mobile payment market in the U.S., but the potential of the technology goes far beyond a mobile wallet. Lopez points out it can be used to manage and verify digital identities, a function that, she argues, will become an inherent part of daily life as services become “people-centric, but device and network agnostic”:
“The future is contextual identity that will be based on multiple factors, including location, device, username/password and possibly biometric authentication. … Fingerprinting recognition in Apple devices could unlock a new age of usability where each user’s preferences and customization could be retrieved by simply pressing a finger on a screen. This could also be combined with the next generation of Siri to enable seamless navigation with voice. The post-PC world needs a new set of navigation and identity tools. It’s clear that Apple is trying to build this via home grown products and strategic acquisitions.”
Lopez’s piece is this week’s recommended read — you can read it in its entirety here.
Square's frictionless payment doesn't worry PayPal, NFC gets hacked, and mobile payments head to the Olympics.
A look at Square’s new payment app and why PayPal isn’t concerned, an NFC security hack is demoed at Black Hat, and Visa takes mobile payments to the 2012 Summer Olympics. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O’Reilly and PayPal.)
Amazon's business strategy is showing, JC Penney CEO drops strategy bomb, and PayPal's strategy turns mobile.
Changes of heart in its war against state taxes illuminates Amazon’s next strategy, JC Penney will have mobile checkouts by the end of 2013, and PayPal acquires Card.io (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O’Reilly and PayPal.)
A brand-agnostic mobile wallet gets $12 million, an argument that mobile will revolutionize retail, and Apple gets an iTravel patent.
White label mobile wallet platform Paydiant gets Series B funding, PayAnywhere’s CEO argues mobile is the biggest thing to hit retail since Visa, and Apple’s (presumed) inclusion of NFC may not (initially) be used for a mobile wallet. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O’Reilly and PayPal.)
Connecting dots between the Sears supply chain and modern ecommerce. Plus: A look at mobile partnerships and NFC keychains.
An analyst says online commerce is a descendant (and a return) of the circa-1900s catalog model, Deutsche Telekom partners with MasterCard for its mobile wallet platform, and NFC keychains may spark technology solutions. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O'Reilly and PayPal.)
The NFC boom is nigh, thieves get a new tool to steal NFC data, and Girl Scouts get mobile.
The NFC ecosystem looks to be shaping up, a security researcher creates an app to steal NFC data from phones, and the mobile commerce revolution is nearing its tipping point. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O'Reilly and PayPal.)
One-click Facebook campaigns, PayPal redesigns, and a Best Buy exec identifies in-store mobile issues.
Payvment launches a one-click Facebook ad service, PayPal revamps its website with consumers and mobile in mind, and a Best Buy exec says in-store mobile use has a scale issue. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O'Reilly and PayPal.)