Even if many of us here in the U.S. didn’t see much evidence of it in local stores, PayPal has been very busy overseas. According to a rush of videos, announcements and blog posts over the past few days, the eBay-owned virtual payments company has been testing a number of new mobile payment systems around the globe.
In Amsterdam, the shops along an area known as “The Nine Streets” are open virtually 24/7 courtesy of a QR code affixed to the store windows. Passersby can snap the code anytime and get a mobile catalog of the items in the store window. In this case, you can window shop and “window buy any time." They are calling the more than thirty participating stores the QRoute.
In Australia, a PayPal app allows shoppers to check in at merchant shops as they enter and then use their virtual payments in-store. The retailers can see who has checked in on their own terminals. The idea is to allow the shopkeepers to provide more personal service to customers and reward loyalty on the spot. A detailed video outlines the process at the PayPal blog.
And in France, 30 McDonald's are testing a system that enables patrons to order and pay via their smartphone app. This is intended to replace the usual fast-food ritual of waiting online, peering at the overhead menu, or getting stuck behind Mr. Indecisive who is asking for calorie counts on super-sized fries. “Dude. It’s McDonald’s! Are you kidding me?”
In addition to experimenting with various in-store payment options, you can also see PayPal experiment with an argument made to retailers that m-payments adds value for them, too. From saving floor space (fewer checkouts) to improving customer flow, greater visibility into who is in the store to selling 24/7 from the closed store window, PayPal is also testing their retail pitch.