Amazon shares ambitious technology news

shutterstock_170464103In a bid to access more customer data and associate itself with physical stores, Inc. has announced plans to move its Kindle tablets in store. The tablets will be used as a type of check-out system at brick-and-mortar retail stores and are expected to be in high streets this summer 2014.

Amazon executives told an internal briefing in the US that the e-retailer would give merchants Kindle tablets and credit-card readers, as well as talks of website development and data analysis. The project appears to still be at conceptual/testing stage, however last year Amazon bought an associated technology and worked with engineers from GoPago Inc. (a San Francisco startup that offered checkout systems linked to a smartphone app), which may have been in order to move the project further ahead.

If the launch goes ahead Amazon will have previously un-tapped access to consumers’ in-store spending habits and a wealth of new data.

Not to mention that fact that it will see Amazon pitching itself against traditional checkout systems, such as VeriFone Systems Inc. and NCR Corp. as well as start-ups including Square Inc. Although it has been suggested that Amazon will ease itself in gently by initially focusing on the smaller retailers, rather than tackling the heavy duty EPoS (Electronic-point-of-sale) systems placed in the larger stores.

“The game of mobile payments is going to be won or lost at the physical checkout, that’s where nearly all of commerce is done today,” said Richard Crone, chief executive of Crone Consulting, a payments advisory firm.

As part of the package, Amazon has also outlined the possibility for promotions or discounts through for the retailers, which will in turn support consumer interest.

“At the end of the day, a merchant wants to make a sale, to drive up business. And if Amazon or anyone else can help them do that, that’s tough to turn away,” Mr. Crone said.

Amazon’s software ambitions do not stop there however, as the company may also produce a its own version of the mobile wallet with stored credit-card information to help speed payments.

It seems that Amazon isn’t the only company to be moving into new territory. EBay Inc.’s PayPal unit is apparently looking into physical electronic payments with its own devices for swiping credit cards, while Apple Inc. is considering mobile payments enabling people to pay for physical goods on its devices.