PayPal Expands Further Into Offline Retail And Mobile Payments With New PayPal Here SDK

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PayPal this morning is rolling out a new product designed to help its business move further into offline retail. The company is launching the PayPal Here SDK (software development kit), which will help online merchants sell their products offline, while also allowing brick-and-mortar merchants a new entry point into the world of mobile commerce.

PayPal Here, as you may recall, was introduced a couple of years ago as a competitor to other mobile payment solutions, like Square. The service involves a triangle-shaped dongle that serves as a credit card reader which plugs into merchants’ smartphones, allowing them to accept payments on the fly.

With the PayPal Here SDK, however, PayPal is taking a partner-based approach to gaining its footing in the offline world, instead of relying on merchants to adopt the PayPal dongle solution itself. The SDK, at launch, is being adopted by partners who already serve the merchants PayPal is after – GoDaddy and Ecwid, and soon, more. And the SDK supports integrations with “industry-scale” third-party credit card readers, like those from MagTek, which means merchants can continue to use the hardware they already own.

With Ecwid, which helps merchants establish online storefronts, merchants will be able to link their in-store sales with their online sales data and inventory, says PayPal.

In addition to payments, Ecwid’s integration with PayPal Here also leverages PayPal’s “check-in” functionality at physical stores, so consumers with the PayPal app can check-in to notify an Ecwid retailer who is selling on the go or at a physical store, then pay using their PayPal Mobile wallet. The retailer is alerted that the customer is “in store” via their Ecwid merchant app, the company explains.

Meanwhile, GoDaddy’s SVP of Business Applications, Steven Aldrich, says that the PayPal Here SKD allows GoDaddy to integrate the payment processing and easy onboarding offered by the SDK into its own Get Paid app, which lets small businesses manage customer workflows including proposals and estimates, invoices and receipts, ongoing reminders and thank you’s, and track billable time and expenses.

“It allows business owners to get paid in person and online, and to track all of their receivables in one place,” says Aldrich. “Also, because our customers use Go Daddy to create their digital identities, they can present invoices branded with their own URL’s and logos.”

This partner-based approach is key to PayPal Here’s strategy going forward, and discussions with other partners are already underway. These future partners may offer their merchants different feature sets, like those involving reservation systems or time clock management, for example.

“Folks know PayPal for our online business, but if you think about how we were able to grow so fast in the online channel, we really did it through a partner-driven strategy. Our focus is to enable better ways to pay for merchants and consumers, and we’ve done that in our online business,” explains Brad Brodigan, PayPal VP/GM Retail. “The PayPal SDK is exciting for us because it’s an extension of our strategy of moving our payment platforms where our buyers and sellers want to meet,” he adds.

The strategy of working with partners makes sense for PayPal, as that’s been the way it’s most comfortable doing business, and it’s also a largely different approach than competitor Square which took a more consumer-first path initially (though that is now changing as the company is focusing more heavily on SMBs and their needs.)

The PayPal Here SDK is today being made available to other interested partners for free. Businesses are being asked to sign-up via email, at DL-PayPal-Here-SDK@ebay.com.