Embracing the retail market

Gemalto is taking a big leap into the retail payments market in partnership with industry heavyweights .

In April it was announced that Gemalto will be providing the mobile commerce platform for the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a US-based group of leading retailers that collectively operate more than 80,000 stores and process more than $1 trillion in payments every year.

MCX’s roster of nearly 40 merchants includes big box and specialty retailers, grocers, quick service and table service restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores, and travel companies. MCX members include 5 of the top 10 retailers and 20 of the top 90 merchants by revenue in the US.

Mobile payment solutions have not been consistently adopted across all retail markets. Forrester Research estimates that mobile payments will hit $31 billion by 2016, up from $6 billion in 2012*, thus the birth of an idea to efficiently be part of the mobile wave.

To date, Gemalto’s extensive mobile payment footprint has been mainly concentrated on financial institutions and mobile network operators. As MCX’s chosen technology vendor, Gemalto is now entering the retail arena on a truly large scale, and will work with these mega-merchants as they migrate to an enriched, multi-channel payment strategy.

As part of the contract, Gemalto will implement and deliver MCX’s roadmap for convenient and secure retail payments on all smartphones, initially using barcode and cloud-based technology, set to run on Gemalto’s Allynis Mobile Payment platform.

This scalable and highly available infrastructure can be ramped up to process thousands of transactions per second with rapid deployment across MCX member retail stores and without significant new POS investments. Gemalto will also use its Mobile Wallet product to build the MCX mobile application, allowing each retailer to embed the wallet functionality into their own branded app. The solution will be operated from Gemalto’s secure data centers in the United States.

Designed by retailers for retailers

Senior MCX executive Dodd Roberts (photo, right) tells us about the motivations behind MCX:

Merchants saw a lack of alignment on critical mobile commerce issues with mobile wallets that were coming to market. Some of the issues important to the merchants are data usage, customer relationships, the need for a technology roadmap, the payments process and efficiency, and ubiquity of acceptance with a great consumer offering. Because no other provider was addressing these issues, the merchants created MCX.”

The MCX model keeps transaction data where merchants believe it belongs: between the merchant and their customers. Common goals and concerns have created an unexpected alliance between retail powerhouses and competitors, which is often the case in the mobile payment world. Roberts explains how that works:

The spirit of cooperation and collaboration is very high. When the board comes together and discusses issues, everybody’s voice is heard. No group of merchants drives the show; the small merchant has the same voice as the big merchant.

*Mobile Commerce Forecast: 2011 to 2016 – Forrester