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PayPal ramps up mobile in-store services with wider availability

April 12, 2013

PayPal is significantly expanding the availability of in-store mobile services for merchants such as in-aisle selling and ordering ahead via a partnership with Magento.

Magento’s 150,000 merchants and community of developers can now take advantage of PayPal Here to complete in-store transactions via a mobile phone or tablet attachment. Additionally, these merchants can also enable customers to place orders ahead and pay for them via the PayPal mobile application and then pick them up once users are in the store.

“What we’re learning from pilots like the Jamba Juice order ahead experience is that consumers love technology when it adds value to their lives,” said Anuj Nayar, senior director of communications at PayPal, San Jose, CA.

“At PayPal, we don’t believe in developing technology for technology’s sake,” he said. “We are solving real customer problems like waiting to order and pay your smoothie.

“By making it easy and quick to order your drink ahead of time through the PayPal app, we’re creating experiences that our consumers love, building stronger brand loyalty for merchants and attracting more customers to merchants’ stores.”

Customer relationships transform

PayPal, like others, recognizes that mobile is transforming the customer-merchant relationship in many ways and that to be a successful vendor will require offering a multitude of services that benefit both users and merchants.

Last year, PayPal’s mobile payment volume totaled $14 billion while this year, the company expects to do $20 billion in mobile payments volume.

The market for mobile attachments, or dongles, is a hot area because they enable merchants to process credit or debit card payments away from a traditional checkout counter. As a result, store associates can engage customers while they are in the aisle to support a sale.

PayPal Here is the company’s answer to Square, which has dominated the market for these mobile attachments.

The new in-aisle selling extension is available to users of Magento Enterprise and Community editions. Magento’s customers include Nike, Crumbs Bake Shop, OMG, Office Max and The North Face.

PayPal Here grows

Via the integration with Magento and PayPal Here, all order details – customer’s name, order details, amount, etc. – are taken directly from the Magento ordering system so the sales associate can quickly complete a transaction.

Once the transaction is completed, customers will have the option of taking the item with them right then, picking it up at a special counter or having it delivered.

The extension of PayPal Here closely follows other advancements for the service, including PayPal Here’s launch in Britain last month and the introduction of the first iPad app for PayPal Here merchants.

Advance ordering

The order ahead feature was piloted at a Jamba Juice location in Emeryville, CA, in January, giving the retailer’s customers a way to order ahead and with PayPal on their mobile device when they pick up their order (see story). The feature also gives users of the PayPal app a reason to use it in store, an action PayPal is hoping to encourage.

Using PayPal’s iPhone app, Jamba Juice customers can locate the Emeryville store, tap on the order-ahead button and place their order. Users have the ability to add on items such as protein to their beverages and to substitute ingredients.

Once users have placed an order, they can choose a pick-up time and pay using the PayPal app. Once they arrive at the store, users bypass the line and cashier and simply pick up their drink.

PayPal reports that it has seen order ahead help drive increased sales and bring in new customers for a variety of types of businesses, including quick-service restaurants and outdoor cinemas.

Magento retailers will be able to make it easy for customers to order items from a menu or catalog and pay directly through PayPal’s mobile app. Merchants will have access to customizable mobile templates to create menus and order pages quickly and easily.

Using PayPal’s app within Magento, merchants will be able to synchronize store locations and hours.

Customers will be able to pick-up orders by name, number, time or by scanning a QR code on their receipt. Merchants can manage order pick-ups either via a console available through the PayPal extension or by integrating with their existing POS system using Magento’s API.

“Mobile experiences will evolve to provide valuable, relevant and easy-to-use services for consumers,” Mr. Nayar said. “By using targeting and location-based technology, companies like PayPal can help merchants deliver deals that are highly relevant and contextual.

“For example, a clothing retailer might be able to message a nearby customer, letting them know they’ll earn $5 in their PayPal account that day if they buy jeans that they’ve purchased in the past,” he said. “With the right permissions, the merchant may also be able to know the customer is with two friends and offer a group discount.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor  on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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