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Intuit acquires AisleBuyer to boost its mobile commerce strategy

April 12, 2012

The AisleBuyer mClerk iPad app

Intuit is extending its mobile commerce strategy with a new deal to acquire shopping application AisleBuyer.

The AisleBuyer mobile app, which is being used by several merchants, lets users scan a product’s bar code in a store, see reviews and ratings, as well as pay for a product with a credit card without having to stand in line at the register. Intuit offers merchants an attachment for mobile devices that lets them swipe credit cards and process a transaction via a smartphone or tablet.

“Intuit and AisleBuyer share a common vision to deliver a robust mobile point-of-sale offering to small businesses,” said Sharna Brockett, senior PR manager at Intuit, Mountain View, CA. “We began to investigate a potential partnership with AisleBuyer but we soon realized we could accelerate the value of a fully integrated offering easier as one organization, rather than through a partnership.

“We chose to acquire AisleBuyer because they provide the technology platform that aids the transition of our existing point-of-sale solutions and GoPayment, our mobile payment processing solution, to the cloud,” she said. “Their technology will also assist in opening up this mobile POS ecosystem to our own as well as third-party developers.

“For AisleBuyer customers, it is business as usual – their service will not be interrupted. For product integration, we are planning to leverage their technology platform as described above and will share more information on our plans as our two teams start working together.”

Beyond mobile POS
According to reports, Intuit and AisleBuyer have been piloting an integration of the app’s mobile check-out technology with Intuit’s products. Such integration could enhance Intuit’s solutions by enabling merchants to offer their customers more robust mobile shopping and payments solutions.

The news points to the growing importance for mobile commerce players to offer compelling solutions for both merchants and consumers.

The purchase price was not disclosed.

“AisleBuyer’s focus on enabling merchants can help extend Intuit’s Square-like payment systems, further enhancing their merchant offerings,” said Drew Sievers, CEO of mFoundry, San Francisco.

“There are a lot of companies trying to fish in this mobile ocean at the moment,” he said. “No one really knows what they are going to catch, but there is a lot of bait being used.”

Mr. Sievers is not affiliated with Intuit or AisleBuyer and commented based on his experience in mobile.

The mobile commerce space that Intuit operates in — mobile POS terminals — has seen a significant increase in competition this year.

PayPal recently introduced PayPal Here for small businesses, which includes a free app and thumb-sized card reader that enables any iPhone or Android phone to process payments made via debit or credit cards, check and PayPal.

While PayPal was late to the game in offering a solution for merchants, its considerable success on the consumer side could help it gain traction here.

Square – a leader in offering merchants mobile attachments for processing credit card payments – has been focusing more heavily on building out its consumer offerings.

Square recently revamped its application for consumers, renaming it Pay with Square and adding features that make it easier for users to find nearby merchants who accept mobile payments via Square (see story).

The other player in this space is VeriFone, which recently said that it expects to process over $10 billion in mobile payment transactions this year.

Consumer confusion
Mobile commerce is growing and vendors are trying to gain traction for a variety of different strategies, including ones that enables customers to use their phone as a digital wallet as well as ones that turn merchant mobile devices into point-of-sale terminals.

In the later part of last year, AisleBuyer added location-based deals and offers to its mClerk and mShop apps, enabling brands and retailers to target consumers waiting in line (see story).

Last fall, Big Y Supermarkets introduced a new app that was built using AisleBuyer’s mShop mobile commerce platform and which enables the chain to send personalized promotions while users are shopping and provide regionalized digital circulars via the app (see story).

Boston retailer Magic Beans introduced a shopping app developed with AisleBuyer a couple of years ago that accounted for 12 percent of all the transactions completed during the 2010 holiday season (see story).

“The challenges are the same for anyone in the merchant enablement business: capturing merchant share,” mFoundry’s Mr. Sievers said.

“As more and more companies try to win business, the only certainty is the number of competing standards in the space and the likely confusion among customers on which merchants take which payment or loyalty scheme,” he said.

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