Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Where is Paypal going

Paypal recently announced that one could use a Paypal account to purchase at any Home Depot shop in the US. (Read here). The service require a Paypal App on a smarphone that generates a 2-D barcode that can be read by POS-equipment in the store. While this is a really innovative solution that takes an on-line product and turns it into a product that can be used in the physical world, it is an open question if this will lead to wide adoption for the mass market.

However, it is important to take cognisance of the following very important implications:
  • It is now possible for non-traditional brands to enter the payment domain and go after the more profitable niche markets. Many other players have successfully done this in the past (consider Starbucks), using strategies that build on a wider eco-system than just providing a dependable payment experinece.
  • The need for super-security mechanisms are not that critical. With niche solutions, relatively small balances and small take-up, it is just not worth the effort to break the security to steal money. It will be different when the service get to scale and really attracts large amounts.
  • Consumers (as is the case with almost everything today), will be confronted with so many choices to pay that it will be difficult to decide what to select and how to manage these diverse options. It will be interesting to observe how the mass consumers react with a prolifiration of payment choices.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am also following PayPals forays into physical retail with interest.
I believe they are testing with several technologies including 2D barcodes, privately issued (plastic) cards, and a system where the user enters their mobile phone number into the POS terminal followed by a PIN.

If I am not mistaken then it is the last one of these that is being used in the Home Depot rollout. I think it works like this: the customer chooses Paypal as payment method, enters their mobile phone number onto the POS terminal so that the right account is selected, and finally punches in the PIN for authorizing the payment.

Victor Asemota said...

I think with "Paypal here" the answer has been given. They see Square as their biggest threat and all they have been doing was gearing up for the big fight.

Victor Asemota said...

I think I now see clearly that they are in panic mode over Square as this post below articulates

http://www.msba.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=136:paypals-non-strategy-is-a-strategy&catid=1:latest-news

Seems they waited too long for someone else to come eat their lunch