The strategy that pays

Electronic payment is advancing rapidly and is coming our way. […]

April 25, 2013

Electronic payment is advancing rapidly and is coming our way. The global e-commerce business PayPal already offers the opportunity to pay online, either on mobile devices or in stores. Its technology is being used by more than 117 million people in 190 markets around the globe. PayPal is now about to take the next big step and change the way we shop for good.

Last November PayPal started a series of ‘windowshopping’ tests in Amsterdam. In ‘the Nine Streets’, a popular shopping district of the city, consumers could scan QR codes on the shops’ windows with their mobile phones. This automatically redirected them to the shop’s website. The website would show a picture of the show window and via the mobile device consumers could order a product at choice, in the desired color or size. It would then be delivered to the home address in a gift box. That is not all. ‘There are several ways in which physical retailers will use internet technology to make consumers’ lives easier’, Eelco van Wijk, PayPal’s Country Manager in the Netherlands & Belgium wrote in the blog post announcing the tests, ‘skipping the line, ordering remotely and picking up in store, location-based shopping assistance, user profile-based service and incentives.’

While this technology is currently still in the test phase in the Benelux, in other parts of the world PayPal is gaining strength on the physical retail market. While the Amsterdam tests were being conducted, the company announced that four leading retail chains would launch in-store payments with PayPal. At the same time, McDonalds France was conducting tests with PayPal services in 30 of its 857 restaurants. In both cases the technology allows the consumer to check in through mobile apps and order on-line, leading to a substantial decrease of waiting time in front of the cash register.

Otto plans Yapital

There is another element that might play a role in the progress of e-payment: PayPal is not alone anymore. In March 2012 the world’s largest mail order group Otto from Germany announced that it was investing heavily in new innovative payment systems. With the new Yapital brand the Otto group wants to build an intuitive and all-embracing system for payments. ‘We start in the first half of 2013 with exclusive retailers of the Otto Group’, says Nils Winkler, Member
of the Board, Yapital Financial
AG Luxembourg, ‘soon we want to have at least one relevant partner in our portfolio from all industries, with which the consumer comes into contact daily. We will start in our home market, Luxembourg, and at the same time in those European countries where we can benefit from the reach of the Otto Group.’


At the same time Luxembourg is seeing lots of new start-ups springing up. PayCash is a new player that takes care of on-line and off-line secure and anonymous payments via a mobile app. The same goes for Digicash. Flashiz, another digital payment start-up entered the market in May 2012. The company enables consumers to just scan a QR code at the cash register to pay the bill. ‘There’s much more’, says Caroline Deleuze, marketing and communications director at Flashiz, ‘this is a multi-channel solution that can be integrated by merchants not only with payment terminals but also with invoices, cash tickets and websites. The app also allows individuals to pay each other, for example to split a restaurant bill, without being charged a commission.’

Things are going fast for Flashiz: at the moment more than 1500 professionals in Luxembourg have Flashiz integrated in their cash register. About 400 merchants have already opened an account and are accepting Flashiz payments. ‘After just a few months we’ve got more than 5,000 end-users’, Deleuze says, ‘this is a very significant client basis for a new payment means. We consider Luxembourg as a pilot market and aim at expanding across Europe. We already opened subsidiaries in Spain and France in 2012 and we’re going to enter the Belgian market very soon.’

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