How would you like to recognize shoppers as they walk into stores.
David Marcus, president of PayPal,
the online payment division of eBay, thinks he has the answer in Beacon,
a new gadget the company unveiled on Monday at the TechCrunch Disrupt
conference in San Francisco.
Beacon is a three-inch high stick
that plugs into an electric wall socket and lets stores automatically
identify and authenticate PayPal users as they walk in.
connects to stores' point-of-sale systems and shoppers' smartphones
using a technology called Bluetooth Low Energy, letting consumers pay
without launching an application or checking in — actions that are
currently needed to pay with the PayPal app.
Beacon also does not need
GPS, or a cellular phone signal, to work.
This is the latest
effort by PayPal to get consumers paying in physical stores with their
phones rather than by swiping a credit or debit card. This has proved
tough so far because swiping a card is so easy and quick.
PayPal is opening Beacon to third-party developers on
Monday and hopes to encourage the creation of shopping apps that work
with the new device in stores.
In the fourth quarter,
PayPal plans to pilot the device with some large brands, followed by a
"massive roll-out" in 2014, Marcus said.
Beacon will cost less than $100. Add an existing Failover solution from 3G Store.