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Papa John’s heats up mobile payments with sharing solution

Papa John’s is introducing a new digital solution to consumers online and on mobile that enables them to split their pizza bill in a streamlined manner, suggesting that mobile payments sharing options are set to take off in 2015.

The PayShare solution, which is powered by Venmo, allows customers sharing a pizza to easily and securely split the check for any mobile or online order, a sometimes-tricky feat that complicates the checkout process. Papa John’s is hoping that the convenience will help drive more sales for the pizza brand, especially as the idea of a sharing economy gains traction, thanks to payment sharing options on mobile apps such as Uber.

“Pizza is meant to be split and shared, so it’s only natural that paying for it can be done much in the same way,” said Jim Ensign, vice president of global digital marketing at Papa John’s, Louisville, KY. “We are anticipating [consumers] are going to like it as they’re the ones who told us they really wanted this.”

Massive potential
Although ride-sharing apps have already tapped the massive potential that mobile payment sharing options offer, Papa John’s integration with PayShare suggests that other food and beverage marketers may follow in its footsteps.

Papa John’s also believes that incorporating PayShare into its digital platforms will cement its status as a digital-first marketer, a strategy that began with the brand becoming the first commercial pizza chain with system-wide online ordering in bricks-and-mortar restaurants.

It also claims to be the first brand in its industry to surpass more than 50 percent of sales coming from digital and mobile channels (see story).

Now, consumers paying for their orders online or via mobile can leverage PayShare, which immediately splits the bill accordingly, and is available for both Android and iOS platforms.

Papa John’s is kicking off the partnership by rolling out a new commercial featuring National Basketball Association and Indiana Pacer star Paul George. Mr. George and Papa John’s will be seen test driving PayShare together.

“We asked our consumers how we could make pizza-eating experiences better, and splitting the bill was a small ‘pain point’ that a lot of consumers, especially millennials, brought up,” Mr. Ensign said.

“From the quality of our products, to the ordering experience, the customer stands at the center of it all. PayShare is yet another example of how we show our customers we are listening to them,” he said.

“They asked for a convenient way to split the bill, and we delivered.”

Driving sales
Papa John’s also believes that PayShare will help alter consumers’ mindsets, as they may now be less concerned with a $20 order, and instead view it as a $5 meal. This is likely to fuel consumers to select the brand’s pizzas over competitors, as they will not have to haggle with friends or family to pay the check or ask employees to split the bill among several credit cards.

Venmo’s PayShare enables friends and family to request money from multiple individuals at once, cashout to bank accounts overnight and instant message with friends after payments have been completed.

A log of transactions is also available.

Papa John’s has long been dedicated to bolstering its digital and mobile platforms. It started 2015 strong with a buy one, get one free promotion for large pizzas accessible through the brand’s mobile ordering application, reflecting how marketers are increasingly viewing apps on a cost per engagement basis (see story).

“At our core, we know that quality is our biggest differentiator and what keeps our loyal customers coming back,” Mr. Ensign said. “Eating pizza is often a group experience — students on campus, co-workers in offices, or just getting together to watch an NFL game.

“PayShare tips the scales in our favor by making it that much easier to pay for your pie amongst friends and family. It’s a simple, powerful tool that will get customers online and returning for more once they see and taste the difference.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York