A new patent application filed by Amazon aims to strip away all the identifying information submitted in mobile payments, essentially turning consumers into anonymous purchasers when buying goods from thousands of online vendors. The system would be a stark change to current online consumerism, which usually requires physical and email addresses and other personal information to be submitted to a vendor in the course of a transaction.
Under the terms of the proposed payments system, Amazon would serve as the middleman for consumers, handling transactions and shipping without requiring consumers to give any information — not even their name — to the seller.
If Amazon chooses to implement the system, it stands a good chance of forcing the online retail world to embrace the new solution. Consumers are likely to appreciate the increased privacy of such an exchange, but marketing departments will have to adjust to a new challenge.
With the loss of the personal information currently acquired through online transactions, marketers will have less consumer data to use when developing campaigns and adjusting strategies. That will force mobile marketers to find other approaches to acquiring consumer and market data. That data can play a pivotal role in organizational success, and businesses that fail to adapt to the new market could face struggles down the road.
Following the Data Trail
Of course, that consumer data isn’t turning to smoke and disappearing into thin air. It’s all going straight into Amazon’s pocket. As one of the largest retailers in the world, Amazon already has an impressive share of consumer data. But by becoming a leader in the mobile transactions market for individual retailers, Amazon can gather even more information about the customers and mobile payments of other businesses.
Amazon would manage each transaction by providing a “temporary identifier” in lieu of customer information to the vendor, allowing the transaction to be efficiently tracked and completed while obscuring all the information. In reality, though, that information can be tracked back to Amazon, which can then wield that data for its own benefit.
All in all, it’s a revolutionary system that could create plenty of question marks for the world’s online retailers.
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