Market Mad House

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

Grocery Wars

PayPal use growing faster than Apple and Google Pay, Microsoft Plans Automated Store

The number of merchants using Apple Pay and Google Pay in the United States fell by 13% over the past year.

Acceptance of Apple Pay fell from 48% of merchants to 35% of merchants and acceptance of Google Pay dropped from 38% to 25%, the Kount consultants reported. During the same period PayPal’s (NASDAQ: PYPL) acceptance rate grew by 16% and acceptance of American Express (NYSE: AXP) solutions grew by 7%.

Kount surveyed around 600 US merchants and found that the number of retailers supporting near field communications (NFC) wireless payment solutions grew from 29% in 2017 to 37% in 2018, Venture Beat reported. The number of merchants accepting mobile wallets increased from 22% in 2017 to 29% in 2018.

More than two Thirds of American Merchants say no to Mobile Pay

That means more two thirds of American retailers or 71% still refuse to accept mobile wallets. Once again it sounds as if Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is losing the payment wars, and Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) is not doing very well.

Unfortunately, the survey did not cover the other popular mobile payment method quick read (QR) code. QR code solutions scan a bar code to initiate a communication with a payment system. NFC solutions send a signal to a cash register that initiates a payment.

Kount’s survey conducted in conjunction with PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) subsidiary Braintree surveyed merchants that grossed between $5 million and $250 million in revenues. That excluded almost all small merchants and retails such as Walmart (NYSE: WMT), AMAZON (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Kroger (NYSE: KR).

Mobile payment apps are still a tough sell to America’s consumers and merchants, Kount’s data indicates. The company that can change that paradigm will make a fortune.

Microsoft to Develop Automated Store

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is developing automation systems for cashier-less retail stores.

The systems will automatically purchase items as customers put them in shopping carts, Reuters reported. The automated store software will be operated through Microsoft’s Project Kinect for Azure, The Verge reported. Kinect is a system of sensors for the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, robotics, industrial uses, and education that can be accessed through the Azure Cloud. Reuters did not say if software and apps from GitHub; which Microsoft bought last week, will be available through the system.

Microsoft apparently does not want to start its own stores. Instead, the company will supply solutions to other retailers much like Aitheon is planning to do. The Reuters article did not say if any major retailers have signed up for Microsoft’s automated store project or how long it would be before the software is available.

Microsoft would need to work with a hardware provider to get its software into stores. The Reuters article did not any identify retail equipment providers that Microsoft is working with. This project would put Microsoft in direct competition with another Seattle-based technology giant – Amazon.

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is expanding the beta test of its Amazon Go automated stores. Amazon is planning at least two GO stores in Chicago, and four others around the United States, Curbed Chicago reported. The first Amazon Go store will be at 203 North LaSalle Street across from the James R. Thompson Center.