Walmart testing Apple Watch waters

Another retailer testing an Apple Watch app isn't news, unless of course that retailer is Walmart (NYSE:WMT).

The Apple Watch, while not the first such wearable, is the most high profile and most expensive. Its high price tag makes it an early adopter item, not a demographic that Walmart typically chases.

But mobile is a priority at Walmart and the retailer is being more proactive in developing digital programs. It has also been actively courting shoppers that fall outside its traditional customer base, including millennials, with digital ads. This group, in fact, now favors Walmart over other retailers in several product categories. 

The Apple Watch app is just a test, according to Mobile Commerce Daily.

"Although there continues to be debate around the scale of adoption for wearables, there's no doubt they're here to stay," said Tom Farrell, director of marketing at Swrve. "Walmart [is] cementing their reputation as innovative mobile marketers, and this is a textbook example of smart design with the device in mind—enabling consumers to manage shopping lists on the phone whilst interacting with them on the watch when in store."

But just because Walmart is developing an app for the Apple Watch doesn't mean it's ready to embrace Apple Pay, although there are other indications that the retailer is now more open to the possibility.

Mobile payments are a sticky subject for Walmart, which has been developing its own mobile payment platform as part of the Merchant Customer Exchange. Walmart established the group, a consortium of retailers, and MCX has been in the center of some controversy—allegedly keeping members from accepting Apple Pay or risk facing deep fines.

Walmart and the MCX have insisted that the group is not restricting members' ability to accept rival payments. However, when an MCX member was asked about Apple Pay, one retailer recently told FierceMobileRetail, "It's complicated," indicating that fines and barriers of some sort do exist.

For more:
-See this Mobile Commerce Daily story

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