eBay's payment division PayPal will soon add deeper integration with retailers into its digital wallet that will result in a richer shopping experiences from consumers' phones thanks in part to a new partnership with point of sale company NCR.
The companies are teaming up to bring PayPal's digital wallet app into stores that are already using NCR's self-service and promotion management technologies in their retail locations. By combining efforts PayPal will be able to integrate its payment service and app with technology that retailers are already using, opening up many possibilities for interaction between merchants and customers directly in stores.
What this means for consumers is that they will get richer experiences from their digital wallet. For example, at a restaurant someone will be able to page a busy waiter directly from their smartphone instead of trying to flag him down. And then they will be able to pay the bill directly from their PayPal digital wallet app on their smartphones. Or they will be able to order an item from their phone or some other Web-connected device ahead of time, schedule a pick up time and skip the line to pick up their items.
Jamba Juice is the first chain the company has announced that will use the order-ahead feature. Jamba Juice will allow customers to order their shakes and drinks from a PayPal smartphone app and select a time for pick-up and pay for the shake right on their phones. When they come to the store, they check-in via the app, skip the line, and pick up their drinks.
NCR's John Bruno said the possibilities to integrate and enhance the consumer experience while shopping or patronizing a restaurant, cafe, movie theater or even gas station are endless. At a dinner with reporters on Monday, he described a scenario in which consumers could preload their smartphones with a shopping list of grocery items and once in the store they could use their phones to scan the items to make sure they are getting what's actually on the list.
Initially, PayPal's payment offering will be used within NCR's mobile apps, which are used in restaurants and some retailers. But eventually, PayPal will integrate functionality enabled by NCR into the PayPal digital wallet app. And whenever customers "check-in" to an NCR-customer restaurant, store, movie theater or gas station, the enhanced experience will be available.
The partnership with NCR not only adds opportunity for adding new functionality to PayPayl's digital wallet, but it will also likely help extend the company's reach to more locations. NCR, which has been in business for 128 years, has a huge customer base in the restaurant and hospitality market. It services 38 percent of the top 100 restaurant chains in the U.S. And it has deployed over 100,000 self check-out kiosks in stores across the U.S.
Working with NCR will help PayPal bring these advanced services to more stores and more consumers faster, said PayPal vice president Don Kingsborough. PayPal is already making strides in getting its solution into stores. On Monday, it announced that 23 national retailers are now signed up to accept PayPal in their stores, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Barnes & Noble, Foot Locker and the Home Depot. And the company said that its PayPal in-store payment methods are accepted at more than 18,000 physical retail locations.
Kingsborough said that what will set PayPal apart from competitors like Google Wallet and the wireless carriers' own version of a digital wallet called Isis is the fact that the PayPal solution is offering advanced features and services that solve real problems for consumers and merchants. And the company is going to roll out the services and advanced functionality on a large scale.
"While everyone else is in two or three cities, we will be launching our services at scale," he said. "We'll be in millions of locations in 2013, while everyone else is still testing their services."
Kingsborough said that PayPal's partnership with Discover, which was announced last summer, will bring PayPal payments to 7 million retail stores this spring. And once these stores can accept PayPal payments, the company's 55 million PayPal account holders will have access to easy in-store payments using their existing PayPal digital wallet most places they shop.
"Our goal is to be everywhere people shop," he said. "We must be where the customers are. And that's what we'll be doing in 2013."