PayPal Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Alex Chriss says the problems with checkout that the online-payments pioneer set to solve years ago have “really been solved” now.
It’s easy to pay with a credit card on the web, and the company faces plenty of competition in the digital-wallet world, including from Apple Inc.’s
Apple Pay, which has been gaining steam lately. Competitive fears have weighed lately on shares of PayPal
which are off some 80% from their all-time high set in July 2021.
The company is betting it can give the business a jolt with a greater focus on checkout speed, marketing tools, personalization offers and artificial intelligence. It unveiled various new features themed around those concepts at an “innovation” event Thursday.
Though PayPal shares saw some momentum last week heading into the event, they sold off once it began. Shares had been up as much as 2.1% earlier in the day, but they recently turned south and were off 5.8%.
Among other things, PayPal has “massively accelerated the checkout process” to let customers check out twice as fast, the company said in a release. Additionally, PayPal announced a new guest-checkout feature called Fastlane that’s meant to let customers shop with one click even if they haven’t set up an account with a merchant.
That technology will “enable significant improvement in the checkout success rate,” Chriss told MarketWatch, and will also allow for personalization efforts that will give merchants more information about the visitors coming to their sites.
Other personalization moves include new “smart receipts” that can contain “hyper-relevant recommendations and rewards.”
“This increases the opportunities for merchants to re-engage directly with their customers, increasing the probability of repeat shopping and business growth,” PayPal said in its release.
Another goal for PayPal is better monetizing its popular peer-to-peer payment platform, Venmo. People like using the service to send money to friends, but Venmo doesn’t charge for that feature. PayPal has rolled out various initiatives over the years that allow it to generate revenue from Venmo, but it hasn’t been able to make as much off the service as some bulls initially expected.
“We have not done a great job of connecting consumers and businesses in a way that enables them to have ongoing interactions,” Chriss said. The company is revamping business profiles on Venmo so that consumers will be able to see high-ranking businesses that their friends have endorsed, a “powerful” feature that will also help business users of Venmo get discovered.
Moreover, consumers might currently use Venmo to pay service professionals like hairdressers and landscapers, but Chriss said the new functions will enable those professionals to offer discounts to customers, which “opens up a huge monetization opportunity for us.”