Target Looks to Apple Pay

The Lempert Report
June 22, 2015

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Target CEO Brian Cornell is in talks with Apple chief Tim Cook to allow shoppers to use Apple Pay at its stores.  Up until now Target has steered clear of Apple Pay and was one of the founding members, along with Best Buy and Wal-Mart, to form their own mobile wallet, Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) three years ago. 

Target’s news comes just weeks after Best Buy said it would also join Apple Pay.  So is this the sign for retailers that it’s finally time to jump on board with mobile payments? According to what was reported out of Re/code’s conference. Target has said they want to see secure chip-and-PIN credit cards make their way across the market first, which makes sense given their massive security breach in 2013, but as Cornell said at the conference, “Our focus is on getting chip-and-PIN in place in time for the holidays,” Cornell said at the conference. “Down the line we want to accept all the types of payments that our guests want.” Adding that he’d “love to have Apple Pay today” and that he’s spoke with Apple CEO Tim Cook about the possibility. 

Despite success, Apple’s mobile payment plan has several competitors along with some retailer resistance. Quartz suggests the problem has been with retailers refusing to see mobile wallets as an easier, safer way for customers to pay for things, but rather as a means to cut costs. And if you’re taking this approach you’ll never persuade customers to change their own payment habits. 

But as Apple Pay continues to grow along with Google’s recent announcement that it is redoing their mobile wallet with an app called Android Pay, it’s becoming clear that retailers need to shift focus to what consumers want.  Shoppers are interested in convenience and safety and if supermarkets are going to keep up with consumers developing shopping habits, it’s time to adapt.