Casting a wide net: that’s one good way to get over mobile payments’ famous “chicken and egg” adoption hump. This comes down to platform ubiquity and compatibility, according to PayPal head of Retail Operations Raja Chakravorti, whom we interviewed at our SMB conference (video below).
Paypal has done just that by taking a platform agnostic approach to where it shows up. This includes APIs that plant it within many consumer apps. It also includes POS retail hardware and software manufacturers, on which it smartly piggybacks its way into the fragmented SMB space.
Success in mobile payments is also all about delivering tangible value that solves real consumer pain points, not just “shiny new things.” That may seem obvious but the “solution in search of a problem” has somehow been the path of nearly every mobile payments play to date.
PayPal’s “order ahead” functionality is one notable exception in letting consumers skip lines. Its “Pay at Table” likewise alleviates a common pain point: waiting for your credit card to be run after a restaurant meal. With participating restaurants, it all happens in the background and you simply walk away.
“When, I’m at a full service restaurant and finish my meal, the worst part is waiting for the waiter to come over and process my credit card,” said Chakravort. “[Pay at Table] allows you to interact with that merchant in a much quicker way. From the merchant side, that’s a benefit as well because they’re able to turn their tables faster and increase operational efficiencies.”
These challenges and the tactics to overcome them have been top of mind for everyone in the wake of Apple Pay’s launch. We dissected some of those variables in a post yesterday and this will be a key topic for us, moving into 2015. Meanwhile, see the interview with Chakravorti below.