Amazon Pay is looking to start its ‘scan and pay’ payments at retail stores, which it currently provides at Shoppers Stop, reports Mint. It will start this at the More supermarket, which it now co-owns with Samara Capital. Aditya Birla Retail Ltd currently operates 523 More supermarkets and 20 hypermarkets selling FMCG, groceries, and daily consumer goods. Amazon told Mint that it had started its Amazon smile code service at ‘neighbourhood retail stores.’ This seems to be an extension of Amazon’s payments via QR codes at retail stores, which it introduced in September last year, something that rivals Paytm started doing 3 years ago, and Freecharge 2 years ago. Users could scan the ‘Amazon Smile Code’ and pay the retailer, and see ratings and reviews on scanning the product. The feature was first reported by FactorDaily, after it was spotted at an Amazon Home store in New Delhi.
In February last year, Amazon India added a UPI payments option for users making purchases on the website. Last month, Amazon Pay, along with Ola, Uber and Samsung Pay, started issuing their own UPI handles. Amazon had tied up with Axis Bank for this. In November last year, Bangalore-based payments company CashFree added Amazon Pay as a payment option for its merchants and vendors. In November last year, Amazon India pumped a further Rs 220 crores into Amazon Pay, taking its total investment to Rs 1692 crores.
The push for offline
Note that earlier this week, Amazon said that it would add 100 offline kiosks to sell its own products in malls across India by the end of 2019. Amazon has 2 kiosks in Bangalore and one each in Mumbai and Ahmedabad, and opened a new one in Noida last week. Other than buying items at these kiosks, customers can also ask the store staff about purchases.
Competition in the offline space
Earlier this month, we reported that Google Pay was testing UPI based transactions with point-of-sale providers to onboard retail merchants. In India, Google Pay launched in September 2017, and claims to have 12 million users, 25 million monthly active users and 1.2 million businesses. Google Pay and Amazon Pay’s push to onboard offline retailers and new users comes at a time when Indian payments company MobiKwik shut down two of its offices in India, laid off several employees, and scaled back its retail business in verticals like auto, milk and food and beverages.
According to payments experts and sources, Paytm has dominated the offline payments space. In September last year, Paytm claimed that over 5 million offline merchants were accepting UPI payments, while its total base was 9 million offline merchants. It also said that offline transactions on its UPI platform accounted for more than 40% of its overall UPI transactions. In November last year, PhonePe said that it crossed 1 billion payment transactions on its mobile app and 100 million users in June.