Hints of the holidays are starting to appear for retailers, and they are getting ready to meet consumer needs even better than before. Payline’s latest Payments News Roundup brings you the updates you’ll want to know to look for this season in renewed retail.

Walmart Is Throwing Parties In Its Store To Help It Win The Holiday Season
Business Insider | Wed Nov 1, 2017 — Everybody loves a party, and consumers are invited to celebrate with Walmart this holiday season. In a previous roundup, we gave insight into the ongoing battle for retailer glory between Walmart and Amazon, and Walmart continues to step up their game as the holiday season begins. The chain is putting focus on both in-store experiences and on boosting its online presence as it prepares for the busiest time of the year for retail.

Digital sales will be taking on a big role as the holidays approach. On Wednesday, Walmart announced that they have tripled their online assortment in preparation for the holidays, which includes doubling toy offerings and exclusive items that will only be available for sale at Walmart. Consumers will also be able to take advantage of the annual series of discounts both in stores and online, as well as a new, two-day free shipping with any $35 purchase. The battle between Walmart and Amazon continues as each retailer makes new innovations for their customers.

Amazon Moves To Build Out Its Grocery Offerings
Business Insider | Wed Nov 1, 2017 — Not so fast, Walmart. The popular retailer may be intent on spreading in-store and online holiday cheer and sales this season, but Amazon is also working to stay at the top of the retail food chain. In an attempt to continue improving their grocery services, Amazon has temporarily lowered the seller fees on products that are $15 or less for merchants that sell nonperishable grocery items. The fee dropped from 15% to 8% on October 15, 2017, and the promotion is set to end on October 14, 2018.

Slashing seller fees will potentially make it easier for merchants to make a profit on inexpensive items while selling on Amazon, which may result in more merchants selling on the Amazon marketplace. It could also improve the types of grocery products sold on Amazon. Lower costs could allow Amazon merchants to sell the individual products that consumers typically see in physical grocery stores, which could boost the e-tailer’s grocery business.

Equifax Breach Puts New Energy Into Data Legislation
Washington Examiner | Mon Oct 30, 2017 — Out with the old and in with the new. The Equifax breach that made headlines for the past several weeks has prompted a new way of approaching cybersecurity legislation. Equifax affected so many consumers that lawmakers seem more determined than usual to effect change on consumer data security and breach notification legislation.

“Equifax may well be the tipping point that leads to action that can get through one or both chambers,” said the Financial Services Roundtable’s Jason Kratovil. “That is the hope.”

The call for action and knowledge against cybersecurity threats is being echoed by many, not the least of which are some of the actual victims of the breach. A Seattle woman was reported saying that as a result of the data breach, her personal information has been stolen 15 times to open credit lines at several different retailers and companies. It is the hope of those affected by the breach and those pushing for the new legislation to be enacted that data breaches and their fallouts can be better avoided in the future.

Yes, Toys ‘R’ Us Is Still Open For Business
Wall Street Journal | Sun Oct 29, 2017 — It’s not over until it’s over. In September, Toys ‘R’ Us officially filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Since then, the toy tycoon has made it clear that despite numerous obstacles, such as pricing wars with Walmart and rivaling the eCommerce titan Amazon, they are not going away anytime soon. One of the major tactics in maintaining the business is marketing new brand offerings, particularly heading into holiday season.

Toys ‘R’ Us has growth goals for themselves as they head into the holiday season, both instore and online. In a recent interview with a company marketer, it was reported that the toy emporium is working on revitalizing their in-store marketing efforts and using a brand new website to promote their brand as they enter the high traffic holiday season. The new eCommerce site not only allows for lots of online sales, but also provides consumers with tips for gift buying. The holiday season is looking to be a new stepping off point for the retailer as they continue to overcome obstacles.

Tech Companies Are Coming Up With Outlandish Ways To Get You To Try Mobile Payments
USA Today | Mon Oct 30, 2017 — Mobile options are available for so many things today, but surprisingly, only 10% of consumers are using mobile to pay. A large portion of consumers still turn to plastic for paying, and are not being incentivized to make the switch to mobile payments. This is something that certain companies and retailers are out to change.

The recent Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas made it clear that tech companies and retailers are not giving up on mobile payments technology. While bigger retailers like CVS, Target and Home Depot have not yet entered the mobile arena, hundreds of other companies are constantly trying to tweak their mobile technology in order to get consumers to pitch the plastic when they shop in the near future, and consumers should be open to alternative payment methods like mobile. With mobile apps offering deals immediately during shopping using location data, shopping becomes a much more mutually beneficial experience for both business and consumer. This is one of the reasons that other giants like Whole Foods, McDonald’s and Walgreens have all boarded the mobile payments train, and others may be soon to follow.

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