Amazon has unveiled a mobile payment app complete with a card reader that can be used on any smart phone or tablet. While this is in no way a novel technology (Square and PayPal have had them for some time), it nonetheless is a big deal for both retailers and Amazon.
The Amazon Local Register further cements Amazon as the retail leader from both a business and brand perspective. Square and PayPal, though earlier in the process, are nothing more than transfer agents. Amazon is retail – all things retail, including managing the monetary transaction.
Even to one of my colleagues who had used Square to take payments for Cub Scout popcorn, a half percent is a lot (it’s a full percent cheaper until January 1, 2016). Unlike the Amazon Fire phone, which was a departure from the core Amazon brand, the Local Register demonstrates a clear understanding by Amazon of the business of its brand. It is a clearinghouse of all things retail – even if Amazon is not actually selling the product. In true Amazon form, you can even spend the money you are taking in directly for Amazon products.
This is a good move by Amazon, one that will force Square and PayPal to respond – if they can overcome the power of when Amazon stays on brand.