MasterCard to Launch Online Shopping Mall

Discussion
Apr 12, 2010
Tom Ryan

By Tom Ryan

MasterCard Worldwide is launching MasterCard Marketplace, an e-commerce site
promising tailored discounts and special deals each day for MasterCard members.
The website will rely on technology that analyzes consumer behavior to display
offers shoppers are most likely to buy on the site’s front page.

On the new
site, shoppers first set their preferences for the types of merchant offers
they want to receive. They will be monitored on how they use the site and offers
will be adjusted accordingly. Each offer is available for a limited time.

"If you see you’ve missed something you’re interested in, the system
lets you set a reminder for the next time a similar offer is available," Josh
Peirez, group executive of innovative platforms, MasterCard Worldwide told Direct
Marketing News.
"Merchants can then use that information to manage
their portfolio of offers."

The site will also offer "VIP Events," such as private shopping
sessions from stores at a discount, as well as "Outstanding Offers," or
limited specials posted each day at noon. Special offers from the MarketPlace
include free shipping from a network of participating merchants across a wide
variety of categories including apparel, jewelry, electronics and children’s
apparel.

Mr. Peirez said MasterCard is operating Marketplace separately from its existing
rewards programs.

"Although this is very rewarding, we don’t look at it as much as a rewards
program as we do a shopping experience," said Mr. Peirez. "We see
it as a way to play in a new space for us, connecting buyers and sellers on
a fun, interactive page."

The New York Times questioned MasterCard’s ability to attract consumers
to a shopping site run by a payment network rather than a retailer. Although
MasterCard said it has set up safeguards, privacy experts also have concerns.

Speaking
to the Times, Anita Allen, a law professor at the University
of Pennsylvania, said there is a cost for consumers who give up private information. "In
the end, we turn into citizens who live in a world where we have no control
over our own data," she said.

Discussion Questions: What do you think of MasterCard launching an online
shopping mall? Do you think the company will face any push-back over its
monitoring of shopper behavior or will consumers welcome offers?

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10 Comments on "MasterCard to Launch Online Shopping Mall"


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Max Goldberg
Guest
11 years 25 days ago

Consumers have shown a willingness to give up personal information when they are given what they consider to be an appropriate reward. That does not worry me about the new MasterCard Marketplace. The Marketplace will be another location where consumers can search for deals tailored to their needs/profiles.

The success of the venture will be based on whether or not consumers feel they are getting deals and the customers shopping experience. Free shipping is not a big deal. That alone will not cause consumers to buy.

In the late 90s there were a number of e-commerce sites that aggregated products from a variety of merchants. MBNA tried this for their cardholders. Few if any of those sites are still in business today. Without a strong value proposition, stronger than free shipping, this site could fade away, much like the ones before it.

Warren Thayer
Guest
11 years 25 days ago

It’ll fly. They can offer greater variety than a single merchant, and we’re all pretty used to data sharing from loyalty programs. There will always be a group that will remain adamantly opposed to this sort of thing, but while they are very vocal, they are in the minority. Net-net, the critical mass is there, and time-starved consumers are always looking for a deal.

David Biernbaum
Guest
11 years 25 days ago

The online MasterCard Marketplace offers some good potential for all parties involved and it’s an effective way to gather consumer behavioral intelligence generally and specifically but once it’s imitated by too many other institutions, it will decline in overall effectiveness.

Paula Rosenblum
Guest
11 years 25 days ago

It’s a question of whether or not MasterCard’s analytics are good enough to make the promotions worthwhile for consumers.

Potential backlash…once consumers realize that MasterCard has this personal data and uses it, they may revolt, or at least a subsegment of them might.

Herb Sorensen
Guest
11 years 25 days ago

This is jumping into competition with Amazon and their Marketplace. The fact is that anyone who already has an established digital relationship with consumers can leverage the principle we urge on bricks-and-mortar retailers: Define your business by what your customers want and need, not by your own merchandise or services.

This means that MasterCard has every right to pursue a broadened commercial relationship with their customers–and execution is the only barrier to their success. (The privacy concerns are an overblown red herring!)

Joan Treistman
Guest
11 years 25 days ago
If you believe that it takes some know-how and experience to be successful in retail (on line and off line), MasterCard’s potential rests on its ability to quickly build that foundation. With the right people spearheading the initiative and a justifiable revenue goal, they can achieve their objectives. I find it ironic that the concern raised in the article is more about finding the audience than delivering a website that matches consumer’s needs with internet experience and online shopping expectations. It’s another example of “build it and they will come and shop until they drop.” The internet is dynamic and consumer shopping behavior changes quickly based on personal experience, product offerings, value, navigation ease, and…as stated in the article, MasterCard has recognized an opportunity it wishes to develop. If the company doesn’t recognize and build a site based on understanding the influence of Consumer Expectations and Motivation along with Website Design and Content this will be just another missed opportunity. My gut (report implication) tells me MasterCard will focus on Search Engine Optimization. That’s why… Read more »
Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
11 years 25 days ago

With all the info they have collected about shopper behavior over the decades, they should be able to create an efficient and optimized shopping environment. They should know exactly what items and brands to stock. And they probably know your credit score so they could even optimize the page when you log in. They know everything…which in retail is always a good thing.

Doug Stephens
Guest
Doug Stephens
11 years 25 days ago

I feel we’re at a true crossroad with respect to how brands/retailers and consumers interact in both the social and e-commerce channels.

I truly believe that the consumers’ willingness to share information hinges much less on privacy issues and much more on the honest value that sharing it brings. In other words, if all the algorithms and data sets actually begin to help consumers save time, energy, and perhaps money, they’ll gladly share purchase data–it’s just that simple.

I don’t think it matters very much if it’s a site run by a retailer, a bank or a payment processor. If they can truly action personal and purchase data to make life easier for the consumer, they’ll succeed.

andrew kingery
Guest
andrew kingery
11 years 24 days ago

I agree this is competing with Amazon.com. They should stick to their core.

I also struggle to see the issue with privacy. Do younger people growing up with the internet really care about privacy (of course provided bank accounts are not affected by fraudulent activity)?

John Crossman
Guest
John Crossman
11 years 12 days ago

I like the idea. Would love to see them partner with actual malls who can provide an experience as well.

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