Amazon is approaching brick-and-mortar stores to see if it can convince them to start accepting its mobile payment platform known as Amazon Pay.
The company is starting off with gas stations before rolling out to restaurants. The goal is to finally make Amazon Pay available on the retail space at a bigger level.
Amazon Pay was first launched back in 2007, but the level of adoption hasn’t been as fast as the company intended.
At the moment, its use online has been far more extensive compared to offline. For instance, many people are paying for shopping online using the platform. There are also tens of thousands of third-party merchants who sell online that have integrated Amazon Pay.
However, it’s not clear how Amazon intends to bring the mobile payment platform into the brick-and-mortar space. It’s not also clear how customers will use the mobile platform to pay for goods. Will they have to scan a QR code or will they just have to tap to pay? Amazon is already incorporating QR codes into its own retail space so this might be the way to go but we’re still not there.
QR codes offer a number of advantages. For example, they can easily be used by low-end smartphones and this makes it possible for more people to use the platform. The codes are also far more affordable and convenient compared to the other technologies in the market. Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, has also integrated mobile-based payments into its platform. The adoption of WeChat Pay, a similar product with Amazon Pay, has been quite fast in China, especially in offline retailers and it’s very likely that this will continue.
However, the US market does offer a number of challenges. For instance, it’s much harder to get a credit card for shopping in countries like China than it is in the US. Even for Apple Pay, Amazon Pay’s US competitor, the adoption in retail stores has been very slow.
However, mobile payments have been adopted widely in other parts of the world such as in Asia. Amazon doesn’t have any presence in China yet but it has been ramping up efforts to engage local retailers in India too to see if they can start adopting the platform.
The e-commerce giant claims that Amazon Pay will offer the lowest fees for both users and store owners who adopt it. The company is also promising store owners that the platform is far more convenient than many of the other alternatives in the market.
But even with these advantages, it will still be a tough road ahead for Amazon. It seems the most logical step for Amazon would be to target a global client base. There are many systemic challenges in the US that will need to be overcome but there are many countries outside the US that would be more receptive to the payments system.
Whether the company will decide to go global or not remains to be seen but so far, gas stations and restaurants are the first in line for the company’s grand strategy.