Amazon Explores Buying Back Products; Wal-Mart, Best Buy Give Up On Used Video Games

Written by Evan Schuman
February 4th, 2010

Some major retailers have been debating whether the buying and selling of used merchandise (please shoot me if I ever say “pre-owned”) is a business model worth pursuing. Wal-Mart and Best Buy, after pushing the idea for about six months, have surrendered plans to buy and sell used video games. But Amazon, always the more adventurous of E-tailers, thinks the idea has huge potential. A Financial Times of London story cited an Amazon ad for programmers: “As people upgrade to the latest and greatest there is a plethora of valuable, perfectly good products that need a new home. We help facilitate the pairing of new owner with device, while also creating an open marketplace.”

What makes the Amazon concept so intriguing from an IT perspective are the CRM implications. Instead of tracking purchases to merely profile the customer, the new requirement is to also profile the products purchased. What is each product’s life expectancy? What is the optimal point to make an offer to a customer who might be starting to get bored with that product? How much of an upgrade can that consumer afford? Should the company start pitching new prospects based on a software projection of what already-sold merchandise will likely come back into play? And you thought Amazon needed a huge data warehouse before?


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Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

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