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Big data is the big demand of business today. It's assumed that if you can get big data, and analyze big data, you're going to get big answers that can deliver big results tomorrow.

Maybe. Maybe not. But the search for big data is all over the efforts to create a Merchant Customer Exchange among Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Target (NYSE:TGT), Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and others.

Call it the revenge of the Big Boxes.

Any credit transaction delivers a lot more than money to the store. It also delivers data, a profile of shoppers' buying habits. This is one of the big advantages Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) has over brick-and-mortar rivals.

Most reporting on the new offering either states that the effort is late or that it's fragmenting a market that would rather just pull out a credit card. But that's not the point my friend.

The point is that MCX merchants can act as a sort of loose confederation, even cross-selling using virtual cash, in order to swing consumers away from online merchants and toward real stores. Think of it as a shared loyalty card.

The success of Google Wallet, which has 140,000 merchants accepting payment delivered wirelessly, and that of Square, which recently signed Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), have told merchants that they can move into the area. Especially since smaller merchants are getting some of these same benefits through wireless systems like LevelUp.

As to the problem of too many platforms will be solved, the big merchants hope so, through efforts like the Mobile Payments Committee recently set up by transaction processors and phone companies.

So will this be successful? If the merchants can get the big data, and do something useful with it that increases their market share against small merchants and online superstores, yes. It's worth trying.

But if you think that's going to happen I have a bridge to sell you. Buy the processors, like Visa (NYSE:V) and MasterCard (NYSE:MA). Buy Amazon (AMZN) when it comes on sale. Even buy Wal-Mart (WMT) on the fundamentals.

A claim that we're going to do something we have never done before is not worth buying. Having something you have not had before is worth buying. Until you see something real, don't buy this rumor.

Source: Big Box Mobile Effort Targets Amazon