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What to Expect from PayPal Beacon

by Raghu B on May 19, 2015

PayPal is taking a major step to become an active player in in-store tech by introducing “Beacon” PayPal’s venture into Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon technology. PayPal Beacon is not yet available but word is spreading quick and retail-marketing sites are abuzz with the pros and cons of such a service.

Whereas other retailer-targeted beacon technology offers a personalized, branded experience, PayPal Beacon will principally offer “hands-free” payments through the PayPal app. PayPal has poised its product to capitalize off of the continuous up-tick in customers’ usage of mobile devices to enhance the in-store shopping experience.

How It Works?

Customers must first have a PayPal account and a smartphone with the PayPal app installed. They would then check in at a store in order to be able to pay for items through the app. Consumers then ring up the products they would like to buy through the app and submit payment. This is similar to paying for a product at an Apple Store through the Apple Store app. PayPal proposes many different examples of applications for the new offering. For instance, customers at a pharmacy can receive a notification on their mobile phone when their prescription is ready. Patrons can order and pay for a coffee right as they walk through the door. PayPal Beacon can provide consumers with a map for locating particular items around the store. Retailers can use PayPal Beacon to offer customers a way to skip the line entirely while shopping. PayPal Beacon doesn’t replace point of sale systems, but rather compliments them. The technology also benefits from the security PayPal is known for. Retailers can use the open APIs to achieve a custom, crafted approach through PayPal Beacon. However, this can become more of a constraint than an advantage.

Limitations of PayPal Beacon

PayPal Beacon does extend some exciting, new functionality for retailers, however there are some concerns. For example, one important limitation is that customers must have the PayPal app to even acknowledge a PayPal Beacon. They must also have a PayPal account to purchase through the system. Retailers will be able to customize the experience with branded content only if they work with the API, which usually means hiring a programmer, leading to costs that many small retail storeowners can’t afford. Beacon technology creates new opportunities for loyalty programs but at this point it is unclear whether PayPal will provide the means for such a function through PayPal Beacon. Lastly, it’s important to note that a truly hands-free payment system for a mobile device would mean customers wouldn’t need to hold or touch their phone at all to complete a transaction. To provide patrons with a more accessible and customized beacon experience along with convenient customer payment functionality, go with NetObjex. NetObjex includes integrated solutions for shopping and payment while also providing unique customization options. The vendor-agnostic NetObjex admin panel delivers a simple yet intuitive set-up process for your beacons. Customers do not need to have a proprietary app to access your beacons but can instead use the universal NetObjex SmartBrowser app.

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