Google Wallet Launches Promotion With Popular Android Apps In A Bid To Increase Its Brand Recognition

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Several Android apps are offering discounts for customers using Google Wallet’s “Buy with Google” button, as the company tries to ramp up adoption of its payment processing service. The button, which allows 2-click checkouts on mobile apps, is one of the strategies Google is deploying in its multi-pronged attack on PayPal’s dominance.

While the “Buy with Google” button for Android allows Google Wallet to leverage the world’s most popular mobile operating system, relatively few merchants are using it. These include Airbnb, Expedia, Fancy, newegg.com (mobile site also), Priceline.com, Ruelala, Tabbedout and Uber, all of which are currently offering promotions to customers who checkout using Google Wallet. Other apps with the button include Booking.com, GoPago, NFC Task Launcher and Wrapp.

The company unveiled the Google Wallet Instant Buy Android API in May, which gives merchants and developers selling physical goods and services (as opposed to in-app purchases of virtual items like those sold in games) the ability to offer customers a 2-click checkout with payment credentials stored on Google Wallet.

Google announced in May that it will shut down Google Checkout on November 20. The move is part of the company’s effort to focus on turning Google Wallet into a PayPal rival, and it follows several moves by the company to retool its checkout process for the web, mobile web, Android apps and more. These include the “Buy with Google” button, integrating Google Wallet into Gmail and allowing Chrome’s 750 million monthly users to sync their Google Wallet payment credentials with the browser, which then auto-complete forms on e-commerce sites that have implemented Google’s API.

Google is pitching Google Wallet as a way for online merchants to decrease shopping cart abandonment by customers frustrated by the often tedious and time-consuming task of filling out an online payment form. As Google pointed out during I/O, shopping cart abandonment on mobile devices is as high as 97 percent. Shoppers often begin researching products or stores online, but abandon the process at checkout because many merchants don’t offer mobile-optimized experiences, and it’s harder to fill in forms on a small screen.

Even if Google Wallet does manage to offer a more pleasant checkout experience, it still faces an uphill journey as it competes with PayPal. According to a comScore study released in February, only 8 percent of respondents used Google Wallet, compared to the 48 percent who had used PayPal. Google Wallet also suffers from lack of consumer recognition–just 41 percent of respondents were aware of the product, compared to 72 percent for PayPal. While hosting a promotion on popular apps like Uber and Airbnb might help Google Wallet increase its brand awareness, it still has plenty of work left to do before it makes a sizable chip in PayPal’s market share.