Wal-Mart Stores Inc. disclosed Jan. 4, 2016, that it plans to add MasterPass to all its e-commerce websites this year. Launched in 2013 by MasterCard Worldwide, the MasterPass e-commerce platform is designed to enhance and simplify digital payment transactions. Approximately 250,000 retail locations and 24 countries use the free service, which is easy to implement and use, MasterCard stated.
“We have enjoyed a longstanding business relationship with Walmart and are pleased to expand this into the online and mobile channels through MasterPass,” said Michael Cyr, Group Executive, U.S. Market Development at MasterCard. “With MasterPass, consumers can go online, place their order and pay with just a click.”
Consumers can enroll in the free service at the MasterPass website and participating banks and securely log in to MasterPass wherever “Buy with MasterPass” is displayed. Users can purchase goods and services on connected devices without entering payment data or shipping information.
MasterPass suite of services
MasterCard noted that MasterPass is a simple, universal method of payment that works across a variety of devices and networks. It evolved from the card brand’s PayPass Wallet Services initially introduced in 2012 and offers the following benefits:
- MasterPass merchants can accept e-commerce transactions from a range of locations and devices. MasterPass consumers can use a simplified checkout process that eliminates the need to enter sensitive personal information.
- MasterPass-connected wallets enable banks, merchants and partners to offer their own wallets via which their customers can securely store payment card information, address books and other data in a secure cloud, hosted by an entity they trust.
- MasterPass value-added services such as account balance notifications, real-time alerts and loyalty programs, are designed to enrich the shopping experience before, during and after checkout.
Evolving mPOS, e-commerce strategy
Wal-Mart has a history of embracing emerging payment technologies, according to some payment analysts. As a member of the Smart Card Alliance and National Retail Federation, the company was an early advocate of implementing Europay, MasterCard Visa (EMV) technology in U.S. stores to drive secure payment methods in the retail community.
The company’s alliance with Merchant Consumer Exchange and its CurrentC mobile wallet was also seen as an effort to provide a seamless shopping experience to Wal-Mart consumers around the globe in their increasingly complex online, mobile and in-store shopping journeys. When the company launched the mobile wallet and app Walmart Pay in December 2015, analysts questioned the long-term prospects for the company’s relationship with MCX and if PayPal Inc. can withstand the competition.
Wal-Mart Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon views the company’s investments in e-commerce and mobile solutions as critical to delivering an omnichannel experience. “Our investments in e-commerce and mobile are very important, as the lines between digital and physical retail continue to blur,” he said in a 2014 conference call with investors.
Walmart.com was established in 2000. It is a San Francisco-based subsidiary designed to leverage Silicon Valley talent and Wal-Mart’s ample supply chain. The company received an e-commerce makeover in 2014 to accommodate its expanding global footprint and changing trends in global consumer behavior. Millions of shoppers visit Walmart.com every day, the company stated.
Walton’s enduring heritage
Wal-Mart’s global empire spans 11,500 stores in 28 countries and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. Approximately 90 percent of those e-commerce sites are private labeled, enabling them to blend with the local customs of their respective countries, the company stated. Wal-Mart’s net sales in the United States for fiscal year 2015 were $288 billion for Walmart stores and $58 billion for its warehouse subsidiary Sam’s Club.
Retail analysts attribute the retailer’s success to founder Sam Walton, who opened the first Walmart store in 1962 and took the company public in 1972. Walton called giving customers what they want “the secret of successful retailing.” His legacy has been broadly interpreted in a series of strategic initiatives designed to advance a “seamless shopping experience whether customers are online, in stores or on their mobile devices,” according to the company’s website.