- Bird riders in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, CA will now be able to buy items from local businesses through a new feature in the app called Bird Pay.
- At participating local businesses in those cities, which include restaurants, coffee shops and even a food truck, riders can scan a shop's QR code, enter the payment amount and pay through the app, a Bird spokeswoman told Smart Cities Dive. She offered no details on whether Bird takes a cut of that payment.
- Bird said the payment program was launched "in direct response to requests from local businesses," as the company said more than 58% of rides begin or end at a local business each day.
Bird suggested this payment plan came at the request of local businesses so customers can avoid issues with congestion and finding parking for cars. But on the flip side, a major concern raised by some businesses has been the spate of cluttered sidewalks outside their storefronts. Bird Pay could potentially be a way to foster more goodwill between Bird and other businesses, in addition to making it easier for riders to make purchases.
The move to mobile-based payments is a trend that more companies are moving toward. Google Pay has been among those to roll out the option for mobile transit payments, while a slew of cities are exploring their own mobile-based options in addition to physical methods like upgrading reusable plastic cards.
The Bird spokeswoman did not respond to specific questions about how the Bird Pay technology works, and how it may stand apart from other options like Apple Pay and Google Pay. There are also no details on whether Bird Pay offers discounts to riders to incentivize customers to enter specific businesses. Although, those businesses are offered visibility and "lower fees" if they sign up.
Many scooter companies still face a long road ahead to profitability. Diversifying revenue streams and moving into new product areas could be a way to ease the concerns of investors who want to see a return on their cash infusion. And with a desire to foster better relations between itself and businesses in the cities where it operates, Bird sees plenty of benefits.
"Store owners in the community often tell me, 'Birds outside bring business inside,'" Travis VanderZanden, Bird CEO and founder, said in a statement. "This phenomenon paired with our commitment to community resulted in Bird Pay which helps drive even more customers to local businesses."