Scott Thompson, President of PayPal, recently sat down for an interview with Alan Kohler of ABC to discuss the future of PayPal. Various bits of PayPal’s history and composition were discussed, including the interesting fact that PayPal will likely soon be larger than it’s owner, eBay. The more significant topic, however, arrived when Thompson brought up the blurring lines between E-Commerce and traditional in-store commerce. He pointed out that many forms of payment in-store now use an internet connection.
He’s got a decent point; credit card machines now connect to the internet in stores, and I can order a refrigerator from Wal-Mart’s website and have them ship it to my local store, where I can then go pick it up.
The interview continued on into how PayPal would change in these new waters.
“SCOTT THOMPSON: …we view that as a massive opportunity for PayPal because now we can be a tender type, an option for payment at point of sale because that device is essentially a computer when it’s connected to a network. So it’s a fascinating, dramatic increase in the total addressable market for us …”
PayPal in-store?! This is something I’d love to see, because I’ve been using PayPal for years online and never once had a problem with their service. It replaced sending out personal checks by mail and waiting the 3-day transit time, and the additional week to clear the bank. It would certainly be interesting to see what options PayPal could provide in store though, because the need is seemingly already filled quite well. Cash, credit, and PayPal credit.
“SCOTT THOMPSON: There are three options that we’re working on for the consumer to engage us at point of sale. Certainly a mobile phone is one of those options, and there will be two other options that we offer consumers that will be unique.”
Payment using a mobile phone? Both Google and Apple have been working on that, so we might be seeing PayPal partnering with one or both of them to bring it about. As to the other two options, it seems we’ll have to wait and see.