Couple reflection and a blog post I wanted to write for a long time.
All payment companies are trying to differentiate their product offering and of course a big and nice way to do this amongst consumer is through Marketing and Offers.
Now the game has intensified significantly as everyone thinks of the future potential geo-targeted, demographic , some even say tailored offers that retailers would want to push to their consumers. Some companies are going their own ways and a lot of startup companies have been created in the past couple months to try to fulfil that holy grail. Payment companies are also trying to get in the game and it’s pretty obvious that those 2 types of services will get closer together over time:
Player number 1 (no special order here): Groupon and Square– Yes you weren’t expected this one but as Groupon may (or may not) do its IPO and get a LOT of cash, some rumors are that the company is in discussions with Square. In effect you could foresee that the “daily deals” that Groupon offers could transform the ecosystem with some clever geo-targeting and use of consumer data they do not have. Imagine utilising the Sales Force of Groupon (around 2000 people worldwide now) to source any kind of deal that would be highly targeted to users to be pushed through notifications and coupons given at Point of Checkout or Point of Sale through Square apps. Cool? It would be an interesting development for sure.
Visa just announced that they partnered, JointVentured and acquired a piece (?!) of Monetise. Monetise is a cool service that offers…well offers as well as an enhanced experience through their apps and APIs – they also offer, mobile services for online banking and a mobile wallet. I am not sure how the 2 latter would be used by Visa as they are building their own solutions but we ll see. Article here.
PayPal is talking a lot of offers and of course at this stage, they haven’t got that much traction as they are missing the big and powerful merchant that can have good offers
and the fact that their traditional base of merchants is usually small and don’t have bandwidth to put together the same. That doesn’t stop them from talking about it and I d be surprised if they wouldn’t announce couple exciting developments either as new products imbedded in their Proximity payment products or through partnerships. After all they are part of eBay inc who is the biggest eCommerce site in the world, owns Milo (local based offering only in the US) and RedLaser. Again here, the appetite is here and we know for sure that they ll play in that space but we haven’t seen any product yet. As for the proximity payment announcements, is PayPal getting good at “just producing videos?”
And last but not least, American Express. Now I personally like what I am seeing there. through their wallet launched earlier this year, Serve, they now have the potentially play in many use cases, proximity based payments as well as remote based ones (announced through the new API they are launching)which is not their traditional way of doing business. But more importantly, AMEX is getting close to so many great players in the eCommerce and mCommerce and those strategic alignments will certainly pay back in time. Facebook. Video Games and Digital Goods. What’s next?
Long time away from the blogging keyboard. I guess I needed the time to diggest the past couple weeks.
Let me call out what I thought about all of this.
First what is this?
eBay, Magento and PayPal had APIs and separate developper focus in each companies. eBay Inc called out Matthew Mengerick to put all those Business Units together to 1) find synergies between them 2) try to find a way to montetize another group of customers that a shopping aggregator like eBay, a payment platform like PayPal and a SMB full solution suite like Magento should be interesting in serving: the 3rd party developpers.
Some of them were interesting:
– Facebook being part of the announcement gave some grounds to the platform and although I watched the video (like another 97 unfortunate other viewers – anti-climax as an impact if you were eBay – 1:11:00 if you want to be the 98th), I can’t really say I understood what the deal was about. I am guessing some kind of social commerce products. Those 2 giants getting together to crack the holy grail gives me good hopes that they would do it and do it well but the evil will be in the details. Knowing how Facebook has that much data about users and how eBay and PayPal has that much shopping data. You do the math but I definitely see huge potential.
– The rest is to re-announce that basically they brought all companies strengths and synergies together. APIs did exist but putting them altogether under the same stack will unleash some new potential usage or so it seems. Of course that is downplaying it a lot as I think the products look pretty cool. My personal favourite would be Magento as I knew it less well, and as they will use this platform APIs and current product to be even a more complete SMB solution as before. Publish your ads to Marketing., Facebook and eBay would give any kind of significant traffic to any SMBs that would go online. I would hope that they can get the fulfilment ramp up as easily as they are helping with
The Bad side of things
To be evil I d say it is sad for a company their stage to insist so much on powering 3rd party developers. Does that mean that anyone inside the company can’t innovate anymore? Certainly not but if I was one of the bright one inside and had the idea, I d probably want to go out and build it for me now that I have all the tools at my fingertips.
eBay Inc is still a hugely innovative company, don’t get me wrong. The question is, would you use their tools and integrations? Probably to find some scale before you can build some of it yourself.
Cracking SMBs? Definitely. Cracking the next big thing. Probably not.