Just today PayPal announced that they added more retailers to their in-store payments application and are now at 18,000 retail outlets in the US. Amazing how technology that everyone expected would help break us free from brick and mortar is now squarely (pun intended) on making mobile payments to local stores much easier.
If you’re watching closely, you’ll realize the race is on between the various in-store solutions like PayPal and Square. This is disruptive to the ATM and Visa card, but we’ll venture that the real story is in the order-ahead capability that PayPal now offers and will be a major part of the mobile payments arms race.
Jamba Juice, at least at one location in the US for now, allows PayPal users to order ahead, pay ahead, set the pickup time and then bypass any lines when it comes time to collect your wheat grass-enhanced beverage. This is a great application of mobile, app and digital wallet that first made news in France last summer with a similar order-ahead, pay-ahead system at 30 McDonald’s outlets in France.
The implications for any type of pick-up service are significant. Think of the many things we currently stand in line to order and collect. Clearly fast food is a popular starting point, but the same technology can apply to any countertop, including bars and clubs (where you can already get drinks by iPhone app) or your nearest Apple or other retail store.
Not only is this efficient for everyone, cutting cost to the seller and time for the buyer, but it offers a way to increase loyalty by getting a better view of the customer and their preferences.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for order-ahead, pay-ahead. In fact, we think it needs a more convenient short name. Anyone?