UK’s Pizza Express and PayPal introduce iPhone payment systemFeature
Posted by Seth PlanckJune 16th, 2011 at 6:58 PM Filed Under Galleries, Latest News, Press Release, Videos
UK’s Pizza Express and PayPal introduce iPhone payment system
Another day brings another mobile payment app. Yesterday it was the turn of the US of A with the Starbucks announcement of their app. Today it’s the turn of the UK and Pizza Express, which in partnership with PayPal has extended mobile payment to its 370 outlets. Pizza Express, the popular UK restaurant has launched its IOS app and is set to allow everything from checking out the menu to paying your bill, which will occur straight from your iPhone using PayPal. This will allow customers to leave the restaurant when they choose and not wait on your waiter / waitress / server for your bill. From a business perspective, if this becomes the normal method of payments it could cut labor costs involved with taking payments allowing staff to look after more customers at any one time.
How the Pizza Express app works with PayPal
Pizza Express has a company-wide roll-out of free WiFi via The Cloud and new electronic point of sale systems. Or, in other words, on entering a Pizza Express you join their free WiFi network which allows you to pay for your meal with your iPhone. In actual fact, the app is connecting with the company’s main server to complete your PayPal transaction, but appears to be setup in such a manner where the experience is seemless.
The screen shots from the Pizza Express & PayPal mobile payments iPhone app
With a simple search in the UK iTunes app store we find PizzaExpress’ app description:
“Book a table when you’re out and about, browse the menu to choose what to eat, store your downloaded PizzaExpress offer codes, and you can now pay your bill with PayPal using your iPhone… Ideal when you’re pushed for time – you need to get back to the office NOW, the kids are getting restless, or you’ve got to make that 7.30pm cinema showing. The PizzaExpress iPhone app makes your PizzaExpress experience even easier and even faster.”
Also take a quick look at the screen shots below which show a clean intuitive app.
Mark Angela of Pizza Express says they held off until they could improve their customers’ experience
Mark Angela, chief executive of Pizza Express, said: “We knew there was no point just launching an app for the sake of it, so we waited until we had a system that could genuinely improve our customers’ experience of eating out at PizzaExpress.”
Well, if that was Pizza Express’ aim, we think they did it, as you can see above the app looks great and will give a genuine added value to customers who dine at Pizza Express and use PayPal. What we don’t know and would love to know is when can we expect to see an Android, WP7 and Blackberry versions of the app. It is predicted by analysts that we will be seeing many more apps like the one just launched by PizzaExpress and PayPal, and we can only hope they make them as simple to navigate and use.
We can start to see PayPal’s new mobile payments model with the launch of Pizza Express’ mobile payments iPhone app
We already know that PayPal is seeking new markets in bricks and mortar stores but until recently we were not sure how this would be deployed. The Pizza Express app starts to show us where they could be going with their mobile payments strategy. By working with retail companies, PayPal appears to be helping to setup WiFi payments systems that work in conjunction with smartphone apps which is a clever idea for a restaurant, but could be a little cumbersome when popping down the road for some milk. We couldn’t experience the app fully because we are not in the UK so could not see how the PayPal payments portion worked and find ourselves again worrying about security. Our questions are along the lines of: Does the application store your PayPal credentials or do you have to type in your password every time? We think an NFC version of the Pizza Express and PayPal app would make a lot of sense which utilizes a phone’s secure element to store credentials, even if it uses the WiFi network to actually complete the purchase. However, if you have used the app in a Pizza Express, give us a shout and tell us how you found it to work and was it a positive experience?
PayPal commented, ”Over a million UK PayPal customers have made a payment on their handset so combining our payments experience with Pizza Express’s ground breaking app should be a perfect combination. The line between the high street and the online world is blurring, and innovative brands like Pizza Express recognise that payment by mobile makes a great service even better,” said Cameron McLean, general manager of merchant services at PayPal.
Although PayPal is expected to have NFC payment solutions in the works, we are yet to see any in the cold light of day. It looks like the Pizza Express app is a move in the right direction though and look forward to hearing about the experience it provides from our UK readers and seeing similar PayPal partnerships emerging here in the US.