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Walmart bolsters mobile payment options

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Walmart is expanding its mobile payment options.

Walmart will accept Chase Pay on Walmart.com, through the Walmart mobile app, and in its stores through the app’s Walmart Pay feature. The digital payment solution allows shoppers to make secure digital payments in-store and online while earning rewards and receiving offers. Chase Pay also protects the customer through token technology, which utilizes one-time complex codes to process transactions and keep credit and debit card information secure.

The integration of Chase Pay comes on the heels of Walmart’s recent announcement that it expanded its relationship with Chase. Through its agreement, the retail superstore will process Chase Visa card transactions across its more than 5,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club locations in the U.S., and at Sam’s Club e-commerce, through ChaseNet, the bank’s closed-loop network.

Both ChaseNet and Chase Pay are scheduled to go live with Walmart in 2017.

“We are excited about the opportunity to provide our customers with even greater convenience and value to our Walmart Pay app while expanding our relationship with Chase,” said Mike Cook, senior VP and assistant treasurer for Walmart. “Adding Chase Pay as an option within Walmart Pay and online will create an enhanced experience for our customers.”

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Another high-profile Target exit: Grocery chief leaving

BY Marianne Wilson

That was fast.

Anne Dament, senior VP of grocery merchandising for Target Corp., is leaving the chain, after less than 18 months on the job. Her last day will be Nov. 18.

Damen’s exit will mark the third high-level executive departure at Target in less than three months. In August, the chain’s chief marketing officer, Jeff Jones, resigned to join Uber. And in September, chief digital officer Jason Goldberger left.

The departure of Dament, who was one of Target CEO Brian Cornell’s first executive hires, comes amid the retailer's ongoing attempt to overhaul its grocery business. The makeover, which includes a big focus on organic items and gluten-free products, has apparently not impressed shoppers, the Star Tribune reported.

Mark Tritton, Target's chief merchandising officer, has already assumed some of Damen’s responsibilities on an interim basis, according to the report. The chain is launching a comprehensive search for a replacement, considering both internal and external candidates.

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Holiday forecast: Digital promotions to help drive in-store purchases

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Holiday spending is expected to spike by a solid 4%.

That’s according to the “2016 Holiday Season Forecast,” an annual report from investment firm JLL that is based on responses from 2,800 shoppers across 31 shopping centers.

Now that Halloween — and all of the holiday’s hype — is complete, 45% of retailers are in holiday mode. Nearly half of the industry’s retailers expect to make between 11% and 30% of their annual revenue this holiday season, and more than half of retailers expect to generate up to 20% of their total holiday sales over the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend alone, the report said.

During the holiday rush, 77% of retailers believe that shopper traffic will stay the same or increase compared with last year. To help drive shoppers through their doors this season, retailers will focus on digital promotions and integrations. Specifically, 60% of retailers will offer discounts via email or text message, 29% will use online ordering and in-store pick-up, and nearly 20% will provide free home delivery, data revealed.

Interestingly, almost two-thirds of retailers indicated that they plan to have the same promotions available both in-store and online, a move that illustrates the integration of their physical and online channels.

“It makes sense that retailers are beginning to look at their channels as one cohesive system as opposed to separate entities,” added James Cook, director of retail research, JLL. “In many ways, mobile and e-commerce now serve as the gateway to the physical store driving shoppers in to buy, return or pick-up online orders. Offering similar promotions allows consumers to have a seamless shopping experience.”

Retailers this year are also adding more experiences into their in-store plans, with nearly one-fifth planning some form of entertainment, including Santa or live music. One retailer will bring in authors for a book reading and another will provide makeup tutorials, according to JLL.

There is also a clear generational divide when it comes to what experiences will influence store visits. With a line drawn between Millennials and Gen Xers on one side and Boomers and the “over 70” segment on the other, the younger generations showed a preference for discount department stores (such as Target, for example) while older consumers’ preferred traditional department stores (such as J.C. Penney).

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