Retailers have been trying for years to escape more than $90 billion in swipe fees levied by credit-card companies.
Some believe the answer lies in payment apps, with also allow retailers to collect consumer data and may provide “stickiness” with their loyalty programs.
While shoppers have largely shunned mobile payments offered by third-party providers like Apple, Google and PayPal, retailers are trying to persuade customers to embrace the technology by dangling discounts and other perks.
Several chains, including Walmart, Starbucks & Kohl’s , have had some success by baking the apps into their own loyalty programs—and more than half of companies surveyed recently by the National Retail Federation said they’ve implemented “branded digital wallets” or are considering it.
“In Amazon’s early years, a running joke among Wall Street analysts was that CEO Jeff Bezos was building a house of cards. Entering its sixth year in 2000, the company had yet to crack a profit and was mounting millions of dollars in continuous losses, each quarter’s larger than the last. Nevertheless, a segment of shareholders believed that by dumping money into advertising and steep discounts, Amazon was making a sound investment that would yield returns once e-commerce took off. Each quarter the company would report losses, and its stock price would rise. One news site captured the split sentiment by asking, “Amazon: Ponzi Scheme or Wal-Mart of the Web?”” – Lina Kahn, Yale Law Review
Eighteen years later, it’s no longer a joke. No one seriously doubts that Amazon is anything but the titan of twenty-first century commerce.
Success, efficiency and scale are achievements to be admired. Should they be regulated?