Mobile Payments

Walmart Pay Ecosystem: Mobile Pay Push Heats Up

Walmart shares are up amid a push to boost its eCommerce presence to allow the retail giant to compete with e-retail behemoth Amazon. Walmart’s eCommerce growth also recently accelerated by 12 percent.

Though Walmart is second only to Amazon in terms of online users (and most other categories in the eCommerce space), it’s a distant second. Amazon boasted 200 million unique monthly users in October — nearly twice as many as Walmart’s 113 million. Likewise, Amazon’s number of users on smartphone is double that of Walmart’s.

Walmart is working to close the mobile pay gap by boosting its payment app, Walmart Pay.

Acceptance of digital wallet payments overall has been slow across the U.S. since most stores need to purchase new equipment to process them. Worldwide, mobile pay adoption has been uneven — the result of anything from consumers’ mounting safety concerns to low mobile adoption and internet connectivity issues.

Walmart is a relatively new player in the grand game of mobile commerce — but it has started to catch up quickly in the U.S. Growth and adoption has been steady since launching in December 2015. The Walmart Pay app has expanded to be accepted at every Walmart store location nationwide and has more recently been working on adopting third-party mobile wallet options.

In the beginning of November, Chase Pay became the first third-party e-wallet to be accepted on Walmart’s website and in its mobile payment app. ChaseNet and ChasePay will launch with Walmart next year. Walmart is also in talks with several mobile wallet companies to explore offering more mobile pay options for its Walmart Pay app.

The Chase Pay integration is a logical first step to attracting more users given its ability to fund rewards and promotions. The more players there are on Walmart’s team and the more benefits accrued for users by adding additional third-party payments, the more Walmart can expect customers to flock to the mobile pay app and its online store.

The Walmart app sees a monthly average of 22 million users, and an estimated 90 percent of transactions are completed by customers who use the service three to four times a month. Its most frequent users are an older segment of Gen X customers and baby boomers.

The app has fully been integrated into Walmart’s physical and online stores — and more third-party integrations are in the works — so Walmart’s hopes to continue to expand its online sector and its mobile pay app partly rely on the store increasing its appeal for a younger, tech-savvier crowd.

Whether this draw can come from a revitalized online branding effort, or more millennial folks will naturally opt in as more third-party integrations become available is an open question. Perhaps both. Good thing that’s exactly what Walmart is doing.

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