Starting next month, Amazon customers in certain areas will be able to order and pay for take-out at some of their local restaurants using the Amazon mobile app and Amazon Pay payments platform, according to a CNBC report.
In some states, the Amazon app will allow users to browse participating restaurants, order and pay without any further log-in — a process enabled by integration between Amazon Pay and the Clover point-of-sale systems used by the restaurants, per the report.
According to the company website, Amazon will promote the capability through its own in-app messaging and marketing. The app will also store favorite items for returning customers, allowing them to re-order in two clicks, according to Amazon.
This announcement follows news that Amazon had added a feature called Amazon Pay Places to its mobile app back in July, which allowed TGI Fridays customers in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Richmond, VA, and Wilkes-Barre, PA, to order and pay through the Amazon app.
CNBC's report suggests that Amazon has expanded that initial program, although it is not immediately clear which restaurants are participating and in which states the capability can be used. One thing the participating restaurants have in common is that they all use Clover POS systems — a company Amazon has partnered with in the past to support POS needs for its Kindle pop-up stores.
Amazon reportedly already has more than 33 million users for Amazon Pay, and the payment platform is accepted by well over 100 online sellers. These kinds of partnerships are key to keeping the capability on a growth track even as the payments sector becomes more crowded with mobile options.
The big question that remains for Amazon Pay is: How far can it be extended to other retailers and merchants? Other big players, such as Walmart, already offer their own mobile payment platforms in addition to accepting many other wallet options and those that compete directly with Amazon are not likely to accept Amazon Pay. That being said, it's in the best interest of retailers to accept the payment options that customers prefer to use, which helps to explain the expansion of the popular Venmo platform and could work in Amazon's favor.
Smaller merchants could also be potential partners for Amazon, although the match could be a dangerous pairing for them, considering Amazon's track record with independent brick-and-mortar merchants, many of whom have suffered from the e-commerce giant’s market disruptions.
And this is all assuming Amazon would even want to partner with retailers, either online or in-store. The company may just be using Amazon Pay and Amazon Pay Place to further expand the reach of its own giant brand by partnering with companies it doesn’t compete with. (Somehow, Amazon wasn’t in the restaurant business as of this writing.)
Another area that could become an Amazon Pay Place: Whole Foods. While there hasn't been an announcement in that vein yet, the upscale grocery chain could be a good place for Amazon Pay to expand its reach.