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PayPal wants to get rid of your wallet

The mobile payments company announces an expansion of its "order ahead and skip the line" feature, and its new partner, RadioShack.


SAN JOSE, CALIF. -- PayPal spotlighted its retail partners Tuesday, showing off new campaigns for its in-store purchase feature as it tries to get into 2 million locations by the end of this year.

PayPal President David Marcus said PayPal is expanding its Jamba Juice "order ahead and skip the line" feature to more of the juice chain's locations and taking the option to other businesses in the future. It's also adding RadioShack to its list of partners, with the stores featuring PalPay starting on Friday.

PayPal has 23 retail partners total, including Foot Locker, the Home Depot, American Eagle and Toys R Us. But the focus wasn't only on big chains during a press conference at PayPal's headquarters inside the eBay campus here. Marcus boasted that a new small business signs up for PayPal every five minutes. It's all a part of educating consumers so they can start thinking about a life without paper money.

"Swiping a card at a store is not hard, it's not a problem people think about every day, so we really need to offer something to really change the minds of consumers," Marcus said. "Ordering ahead and skipping the line is one of them."

The company's been trying to revamp its business offerings as it catches up to competitor Square on the small business front. PayPal recently waved its service fee for businesses, mimicking rival Square's model for mom-and-pop stores.

PayPal showed off new features involving check-ins that are coming to its app in the future. One scenario involved spectators at a baseball game ordering food from their seats by scanning a QR code on the seat back in front of them. Donna Tam/CNET

As part of its strategy, PayPal showed off a slew of new features involving check-ins that are coming to its app within the next 18 months. Scenarios included going to a game at a baseball stadium, buying clothes, and eating at a restaurant.

In each scenario, a customer used a PayPal app to check in and receive personalized service from the business. Restaurants can keep track of people's order history and any listed food allergies, and offer complimentary dishes based on their preferences.

For a clothing store, customers can purchase items ahead of time and then have them shipped or pick them up in the store. When the customer checks in at the store to get the order, the employees can offer other items the customer might like based on past purchases.

Stadium retail stores would have even more features, including tapping into geolocation to offer consumers discounts and deals as they make their way through the stadium and past different stands. If someone is watching the game and doesn't want to leave their seat, they can order food by using PayPal's QR code scanner to scan codes on the back of stadium seats.

These sound like some very attractive features for consumers who want the convenience and efficiency achieved through mobile and online purchases at brick-and-mortar stores, and for the stores who are trying to retain customers as online retail sales continue to grow.

But, pulling off mobile payment features in the real world is going to take a lot of education, and not just for the customers. Square, for example, has tried in-store purchases with mixed results. Retail stores will have to train their employees to understand the technology, even if not a lot of customers use it initially.

Updated, 12:53 a.m. PT with more information on future PayPal app features and retail partnerships.