A mobile payments solution that lets marketers turn just about any customer interaction – whether it be a print ad, television commercial, social view, or in-store browsing – into a sale opportunity is coming to Canada after landing a partnership with a large payments processor.
London-based PowaTag Technologies offers an app that consumers download to their device that is designed to shorten the journey between learning about a product and making the purchase. The app takes a number of different sensory input cues and triggers an interaction that can offer a direct purchase, serve up a coupon, or make an appointment with a salesperson. For example the app can scan a QR code, listen for an audio watermark in a TV commercial, detect a nearby Bluetooth beacon, or simply be engaged by a custom URL.
On Tuesday, PowaTag announced it has partnered with Moneris Solutions Corp. as its payments processor and distributor in Canada. The app is available for download on iOS and Android, and a Windows Phone version will be available in Q3. A user’s credentials are entered into the app and encrypted and stored there, then passed on to the merchant to complete a transaction.
While the mobile payments space is a competitive one right now with behemoths like Apple Pay quickly gaining momentum, Dan Wagner, chairman and CEO of PowaTag, says those solutions fall short.
Apple Pay “doesn’t allow you to buy from a TV commercial, or buy from a press ad, or buy from social media,” he says. “I think there’s a lot of things it doesn’t do and we do it all.”
There’s room for both Apple Pay and PowaTag to win in the mobile payments market, says Rob Cameron, chief product and marketing officer at Moneris.
“Apple Pay, when you’re out at McDonald’s and you want to buy a hamburger, you’ll tap your phone to buy it,” he says. “When you want to buy something off a TV commercial, it’s PowaTag.”
On the consumer end, a simple app download and logging of information is all that’s needed for onboarding. For merchants, Wagner says the integration process with an existing e-commerce system takes about seven days. PowaTag offers a set of APIs to allow merchants to tie in their existing marketing automation systems, so retailers could use it to deliver coupons or other information.
“All we’re really doing is an automated form filling exercise,” he says. “We’re dropping these items into the basket and completing the order by sending my secured name, address, and credit card data.”
The cost to merchants is a fraction of a percentage of each sale made on the platform, Wagner adds, but specific Canadian pricing details aren’t available yet.
PowaTag can also be used to complete a purchase from a mobile website with a one-touch process.
PowaTag is working with 1200 retailers around the world already, Wagner says. So far the solution has officially launched in Italy and Japan. Some examples of brands that are putting it to use include Loreal, Universal Music, and Danske Bank. In the case of Danske Bank, the largest bank in Denmark, PowaTag was integrated into its mobile peer-to-peer payments app to enable it to allow payments to retailers.
As for Canadian brands working with PowaTag, no names can be disclosed yet, Cameron says. “We’ve got some nationally recognized Canadian chains that are engaged with us, plus some non-profits.”
Founded more than three years ago, PowaTag has invested more than $250 million into its platform, according to Wagner. It’s raised $176.7 million in funding so far, having completed its Series C round.
Watch for PowaTag’s logo on ads in Canada later this year.