US retailers join forces for m-commerce system

US retailers join forces for m-commerce system

A group of big American retailers - including 7-Eleven, Target and Wal-mart - are developing their own mobile commerce platform, taking on a crowded field of banks, telcos and technology companies.

The Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) is already building an app it says will offer consumers a "versatile mobile-commerce experience that will combine the convenience of paying at the register with customisable offers".

The partners - including Best Buy, Sears and Sunoco - boast that, between them, they serve nearly every smartphone-enabled American and account for approximately $1 trillion in annual sales.

Mike Cook, corporate VP, Wal-Mart, says: "MCX will leverage mobile technology to give consumers a faster and more convenient shopping experience while eliminating unnecessary costs for all stakeholders."

The consortium is taking on a slew of major players, including the so-far unsuccessful Google Wallet, the soon-to-launch telco-led consortium Isis, PayPal and Square.

When news of the plans first broke in March, Steve Mott from BetterBuyDesign told the Wall Street Journal that the retailers have decided to enter a packed field after surveying the current competition and deciding they can do better.

Last week the merchants were noticeable by their absence from a newly formed 'Mobile Payments Committee' made up of telcos, Google, Isis, card schemes and a subset of banks and payment processors.

Nevertheless, Mark Williams, president, financial services, Best Buy, argues that: "As merchants, no one understands our customers' shopping and payment experience better than we do, and we're confident that together we can develop a technology solution that makes that experience more engaging, convenient and efficient."

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 16 August, 2012, 11:32Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

It would appear that this initiative has a good chance of succeeding... all the components are there -the business case will come from connecting consumers mobile wallets to their bank accounts via ACH or debit cards in the main.  These merchants have the market presence and the consumer numbers needed to build a solution that will probably work (only) in America to begin with. Control over the  terminal integration - Wallet App, and the value derived from savings in interchange and MSC fees will mean that this group  should be able to build a cost effective model- and if the merchants drive adoption by discounting - they wont have to share these discounts with third party suppliers such as Google Wallet. 

Maybe GW showed these guys the way...  that and reference to how card based payment first started in Europe in the 1890's and in the USA in the 1920's, this always tends to be merchant led, and closed loop until critical mass is acheived.