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PayPal sharpens mobile payments edge with inventory management, analytics

PayPal continues to show it is a force to reckon with in mobile payments with recent enhancements to PayPal Here and a test of facial recognition to validate payments.

While adoption for mobile payments has been slow, solutions such as PayPal Here that enable retailers to process card payments from a mobile device are seeing growth. Now PayPal is looking to drive even further uptake via a partnership with Shopventory that will bring business intelligence and inventory management to PayPal Here beginning in the fall.

“Small businesses want simple, low-cost solutions that make it easier to run their businesses,” said David Gilcreast, corporate communications at PayPal, San Jose, CA.

“Mobile is so powerful because the cost of entry is so much lower, compared to a traditional POS system, and much easier to set up and maintain,” he said.

“With tools like PayPal Here and ShopVentory, business owners can keep track of their inventory more easily and spend less of their valuable time worrying about re-stocking.”

Competitive edge
Mobile payments are gaining traction with small and midsized retailers, with 40 percent of these businesses accepting payments at the point-of-sale via a mobile credit card reader attached to a smartphone or tablet, according to a recent report from BIA/Kelsey.

PayPal Here was a late-comer to the category, launching just last year after Square had already gained significant acceptance with retailers.


Both companies have been working hard to gain a competitive edge by expanding their credit card reader solutions to include more services for targeted merchants.

For example, Square recently introduced Square Market, an online marketplace poised to compete with PayPal parent eBay by enabling small merchants to sell to consumers online via their mobile and desktop devices (see story).

By integrating Shopventory, PayPal Here hopes to make it easier for small and midsized retailers to monitor their sales and automatically deduct the appropriate quantities for each item sold without the need for manual recounts.

Additionally, retailers will have access to inventory reports and real-time alerts around their most up-to-date inventory.

Facial recognition
Retailers will also be able to automatically analyze the data generated by PayPal Here and reveal insights that will help them run and build their business.

“PayPal Here provides a great customer experience for taking payments anywhere and on any device,” said Rares Saftoiu, cofounder of Shopventory, San Diego.

“However, they understand that in order for their customers to be successful they need more than just payments,” he said. “Their retailers need powerful yet intuitive inventory management and detailed reporting to ensure their business is on track on running and growing as efficiently as possible.”

With there no clear winner yet in terms of the technology that consumers and retailers will embrace for mobile payments, PayPal also continues to test new ways to authenticate mobile payments.

For example, PayPal is testing a way for shoppers to pay for purchases by checking in on the PayPal app at the cash register with the goods they want to buy in hand.

The shopper’s PayPal account then appears on an app used by a store associate, who matches the photo appearing in the account with the shopper to verify the payment.

Users of the app can also see which nearby stores accept PayPal check-in payments.

The program is being trialed in 12 stores in London.

“We’re seeing more and more retailers ditch the desktop PC, and even their notebook, and go straight to running their business on the iPad,” Mr. Saftoiu said.

“Although there are a lot of options when choosing payment providers, Square, PayPal, Intuit, et cetera, there is a lack of sophisticated and easy-to-use apps to help them run a truly mobile-only business.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York