ShopKeep CEO: Merchant Mobile Wallet Is “Confusing”
Considering how few details have yet emerged on how the Merchant Customer Exchange will work, or even what it will look like, it’s hard to assess the future of those retailers’ own play in the mobile wallet space. But anything that unites Walmart, Target, CVS/Pharmacy, Best Buy, Lowe’s and Sears at the point of sale is certainly worth monitoring.
There’s something to be said for first impressions as well, and in Jason Richelson’s case, his first response was one of confusion. Richelson is co-founder and CEO at ShopKeep POS, one of the many companies building its own point-of-sale solution around Apple’s iPad to create a new way for consumers to pay.
ShopKeep's big break within the payments industry came last May, when it was mentioned as one of PayPal's "mid-market” point-of-sale software partners. Along with Leapset, Vend, and Erply, the network's four MM partners were said to have relationships with 50,000 businesses.
As for this latest announcement, Richelson thinks the existing mobile wallet players already have enough of a lead to make the MCE look like a head-scratcher, at least at first. But a compelling loyalty or rewards play could be the difference maker in the long run.
"I think history shows that when a lot of large and diverse organizations get together (like retailers and issuing banks) it becomes very hard to make decisions and move forward because of competing goals," Richelson says. "What I have read is that this exchange will use the card networks but also go direct to banks bypassing the brands. Time will tell how this plays out."
In general, however, Richelson comes back to a point that's been stated many times by critics of the mobile payment "revolution," those think those calling for a complete overthrow are perhaps getting a bit ahead of themselves: the payment experience needs to be more than just, say, a little bit faster to really spur adoption.
With so little known about what the Merchant Customer Exchange will look like there's of course still a chance that the platform becomes a contender in the mobile wallet race. But for now, at least one of the game's up and coming players doesn't see where this is going.
Co-Founder and CEO, ShopKeep POS
Jason Richelson started ShopKeep POS, a cloud-based iPad point-of-sale solution for retailers and small businesses, so merchants could better track their sales and operations while also saving time and money. Jason has firsthand experience as a former successful retailer, having opened The Greene Grape specialty wine store in New York in 2004, which he grew to employ more than 70 people in its Brooklyn and lower Manhattan branches. The New York State Wine & Grape Foundation named the Green Grape NYC Small Business of the Year and Retailer of theYear in 2009.
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