Amazon.com Inc. on Friday debuted Amazon Pay Places, which expands the reach of the web giant in the world of brick and mortar.
Amazon Pay Places allows shoppers to order ahead from chain restaurant T.G.I. Fridays within the Amazon app, an Amazon spokesman told Internet Retailer. The new feature, however, can easily be taken beyond restaurants and into physical stores.
Here’s how it works: Consumers open the Amazon app and tap the “programs and features” tab in the menu. Shoppers then click on Amazon Pay Places to browse the T.G.I. Fridays menu and to place an order. The payment option is available to shoppers in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Richmond, VA and Wilkes-Barre, Pa., for now.
“With Amazon Pay Places, Amazon customers no longer need to download another app to enjoy the convenience of in-store and order-ahead shopping experiences,” the Amazon spokesman says. “For restaurants and merchants like T.G.I. Fridays, Amazon Pay Places extends the simplicity of the Amazon shopping experience to the physical world to help grow their business and connect with new customers.” He declined to comment further.
This is the latest in a series of moves by Amazon into the physical world. The web giant, which operates several of its own bookstores around the country, made a big splash in mid-June when it announced plans to acquire Whole Foods for $13.7 billion.
Amazon Pay Places will compete with PayPal Holdings Inc., which has made a similar push into physical stores. The payment provider has been trying to move beyond the payment button on websites into a versatile financial tool used to make payments in stores, transfer money overseas and shop from smartphones on the go.
Earlier this year PayPal teamed up with Google Inc.’s Android Pay, allowing shoppers to use their smartphones to check out with PayPal at thousands of retail locations. Consumer adoption of using smartphones to pay in stores instead of credit cards, however, is still in the early stages.
“PayPal has not yet successfully broken into the physical world, so if Amazon can pull this off it will be a competitive coup,” says Thad Peterson, a senior analyst with market research and consulting firm Aite Group LLC. “As to Apple Pay and the other Pays, I don’t think it will significantly impact their growth in the short term.”
PayPal has a leg up on Amazon in terms of merchants on board with its digital payment processing button. 459 merchants in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 1000 offer PayPal’s quick checkout button, whereas only 68 only offer Amazon’s quick payment option “Pay with Amazon.”