Amazon to offer Kindle Checkout to Brick and Mortar
In many sectors there is a perceived war between online retailers and physical, brick and mortar stores. Many have predicted the death of the physical store in the wake of the online shopping revolution that began in the late 90s and only continues to grow and evolve. As companies like eBay and Amazon continue to offer patrons anything they want at the click of a button, without the hassle of dealing with crowds and the headaches that come with shopping, physical retailers have suffered. However, many of these doom predictions are unfounded and uninformed; over 90% of commerce is still handled through physical retail outlets and not online.
Now, an online retail giant is taking moves that may further bolster physical stores while also padding its own numbers. Amazon has long been a leader in providing online shopping and entertainment services, and now, they plan to bring physical, brick and mortar stores into the ecommerce credit card processing fold.
As early as this summer, Amazon is planning to offer to physical retailers, a service that uses Kindle tablets for processing credit card transactions. While details of the new service are as yet unclear, a couple of potential models have been discussed. In what is perhaps the most likely, the online retailer would give Kindles to physical retailer partners along with the credit card processing software, credit card readers, and back end required. Amazon may also offer to these vendors services such as website development and data analysis for their new ecommerce credit card processing services.
Of course, no project this huge happens in a vacuum, and Amazon has outsourced as well as hired in some services to make it happen. Among those new partners in the project is GoPago, a subsidiary of DoubleBeam, Inc, and a company with a long history of expertise as a credit card transaction service provider. This is probably a smart move on Amazon’s part, as the field of play for these types of services is already quite crowded, with VeriFone Systems, NCR Corp., and Square, Inc. already all offering credit card transaction services, the latter already working through smartphones. EBay is also testing its own credit card swiping devices to expand its own e-payment presence in the realm of physical retail outlets, as is Apple looking to provide such services through the iPad and iPhone.
Amazon’s strategy, then, is to focus on smaller and startup businesses for ecommerce credit card processing. Such companies will not have the huge, complicated credit card processing systems that bigger businesses do and so won’t be as loathe to make the sheer infrastructure change that would be involved with larger retailers. The online retail giant is considering partnering with small businesses to allow them to offer deals and promotions through Amazon, which would greatly increase the visibility of the small business.
Whether or not the strategy will work remains to be seen, but the drive for Amazon to actively support small business physical retail outlets by offering them ecommerce credit card processing services is an interesting move that, if successful, could even further cement Amazon as the giant among online retailers.