The multichannel pioneers that are Aurora Fashions have taken yet another step in their “Omnichannel” journey with the introduction of a PayPal app which allows customers to pay for and return goods in-store via their mobile phones.
The parent company of womenswear chains Oasis, Coast and Warehouse together with retailer Karen Millen, will allow customers to use this technology in-store from May 31 meaning that those who download the app will be able to pay for their purchases using their mobile phone with the money deducted directly from their PayPal account.
Aurora say that catering for payment flexibility in-store with technology like this is a crucial part of ensuring that they provide customers with a seamless experience by merging digital commerce with physical retailing.
It is their belief that new technology enables a better in-store experience for the customer and, to a certain extent, I am inclined to agree.
Having recently parted with a large sum of money at the Apple store (and let’s face it who does technology better than Apple?) I was extremely impressed with the fact that my payment could be taken there and then without having to join a long queue and my receipt was then emailed to me.
This is something Aurora have already introduced in a number of their stores, allowing customers to pay for their items in the changing room or elsewhere in the store, should they wish. Personally, as a customer, I think it is ideal. Who wants to spend 10 minutes queuing to pay for their purchases on a busy Saturday afternoon?
But what if you didn’t even have to get your card out of your wallet to pay? That is the premise behind the new PayPal technology. According to PayPal by 2016 consumers may not even need a wallet to shop on the UK high street – a mobile phone will be enough.
This seems to me somewhat of a bold claim. While I am all for anything that makes the customer journey easier (not having to queue to pay being a case in point), we are talking about just four years from now and bear in mind some retailers don’t even offer click-and-collect yet.
While it is brilliant that retailers like Aurora are spearheading this new technology, after all someone has got to lead the way, I don’t see it being adopted by the majority for quite some time yet.
I, for one, have never found getting my card out of my wallet to pay for my purchases in a shop a major hassle so why would I go to the trouble of downloading an app onto my mobile phone so I don’t have to do that?
It will be very interesting to see how many people start using this technology in Aurora stores over the coming months and I am more than prepared to be proved wrong but I think it will be a while yet before everyone in the UK is using this as their preferred method of payment.
Ruth Faulkner, reporter, Drapers