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ChowNow bites into Google Wallet to enhance mobile diners’ convenience

ChowNow, an online ordering and marketing platform for restaurants, has adopted Google Wallet, providing customers on mobile and operators at thousands of independent United States restaurants with enhanced convenience in ordering and marketing.

All ordering apps for ChowNow restaurant clients, such as Mario Batali’s Otto in New York and Rick Bayless’ XOCO in Chicago, have been updated to include Google Wallet at no additional cost, and all new restaurant clients will receive it as a standard feature. The move comes as Google strives to build a stronger competitor to Apple’s mobile payment service, which is dominating attention since its introduction late last year.

“After adding Apple Pay to our clients’ iOS apps this past winter, we’ve seen approximately 20 percent of orders come through using this payment method,” said Chris Webb, CEO and co-founder of ChowNow, Venice, CA. “Today, more than ever, it’s evident that consumers value convenience, so we wanted to deliver that same frictionless checkout experience to our Android users by integrating Google Wallet.

“Google Wallet has the potential to convert more orders for our restaurant clients and thus improve their bottom line,” he said. “Partnering with Google to bring this feature to thousands of independent restaurants is a win for all of us.”

Higher expectations
Consumers increasingly expect improved service and convenience because of mobile, with ChowNow and other restaurant industry players feeling the trend more acutely than other verticals.

Meeting demand on mobile for enhanced convenience.

First, the customer downloads the restaurant’s ordering app on an Android device. Then he or she selects pickup or delivery, selects menu items and sets the order.

Upon checkout, the customer taps the “Buy with Google” button to populate a credit card and billing information that is securely stored by Google Wallet.

Google Wallet, released in the fall of 2011, lets consumers store debit cards, credit cards, loyalty cards, and gift cards and redeem sales promotions on a mobile phone.

It uses near field communication (NFC) to let the consumer make secure payments quickly and easily by tapping the phone on any PayPass-enabled terminal at checkout.

The service works with more than 300,000 MasterCard PayPass merchant locations. Visa has licensed its Visa payWave system to Google for use in Wallet.

Google Wallet has continued evolving. Early this year, Google agreed to acquire the intellectual property of rival Softcard and integrate it into Google Wallet. AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless bundle the Google Wallet app on their compatible devices.

Two years ago, Google Wallet introduced its Instant Buy API to speed up and enhance the mobile checkout.

The addition of Google Wallet benefits both restaurants and their customers. Rather than manually inputting their credit card number and billing address, customers with an Android phone can simply tap the “Buy with Google” button. As a result of the added convenience and reduced ordering times, restaurants may see increased order volumes, and hence a more profitable to-go business.

With 70 million Android phones in use, the addition of Google Wallet has broad appeal.

With Google Wallet Fraud Protection, all verified unauthorized Google Wallet transactions in the US are covered.

Success metrics
“The addition of Google Wallet is 100 percent about increasing convenience and reducing ordering times for hungry customers,” Mr. Webb said. “In early tests we’ve seen time savings of approximately three minutes per order.

Enhancing the client’s bottom line.

“Frictionless checkout translates to a better customer experience, fewer abandoned carts, more converted orders, and ultimately an improved bottom line for our restaurant clients,” he said. “Aside from increasing order conversion, we think restaurants will see more frequent orders from customers who have downloaded their app.

“Loyal, happy customers and a healthy bottom line are key success metrics for a restaurant owner.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York