Mobile 2 Go: Taking the Mobile by the Horns

Owning your data--a retailer's priority

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

Mobile 2 Go

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. -- Taking the mobile bull by the horns is what three convenience retailers talked about when discussing why they joined the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), the mobile wallet formed by major retailers including Walmart, Target and Best Buy.

They shared their thoughts last fall at CSP's Outlook Leadership conference in Phoenix. (See CSP's coverage in its December issue, out now.) But one of the main reasons for choosing MCX could be the idea of data ownership. Jay Culotta, treasurer of Wawa Inc., Wawa, Pa., said "owning the customer" was a high priority for them.

A second panelist, Will Alexander, vice president of information systems and special projects for RaceTrac, Atlanta, put it this way: "Who better to own the data than the merchant? … [We know] what our consumer wants because we're living with them day to day."

Apparently not all emerging mobile wallets are alike. And while joining the Irving, Texas-based MCX means an alliance with cross-channel threats likes said big boxes, data ownership is clearly central to the emerging game of mobile payment.

A discussion with Gray Taylor, executive director of PCATS, Alexandria, Va., brings about that singular point. He said that in some emerging models, third parties are trying to claim ownership of that shopper data, so they can essentially sell it back to the retailer.

When trying to grasp what's important in this emerging movement, retailers are making active choices as to what they need in the long term. Apparently loss of data ownership is a clear deal breaker.

Angel Abcede, CSP/Winsight By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP
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