Airtag figures it has landed its mobile payment system in the right places at the right time, concentrating on the fast-food and grocery markets.
The Paris-based company also provides white label software-as-a-service technology for mobile ordering and payments at fast food locations in the retail space, as well as mobile wallet development for financial institutions.
"We use the buzzword 'Amazonification' of payments in explaining what we do," says Airtag CEO Jeremie Leroyer. "We tell merchants that if they want to stay alive in the future, they need to change the way they sell products and use mobile as a way to engage customers."
Airtag supports the use of mobile devices to place orders and make one-click payments, he says. Loyal customers make up at least a fifth or more of total spending at fast food restaurants, he adds.
In April, Airtag provided the technology for Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in the U.K. to launch the KFC mobile wallet. The company is also powering a similar mobile payment system for McDonald's locations throughout France, Leroyer says.
Airtag's Airshop app uses the phone's location to help users locate a nearby restaurant. It lets users create an order and pay with a linked credit card account. The app displays a QR code associated with the order, and the customer presents the code to be scanned at a special kiosk set up for mobile orders.
Airtag has a good business concept in place, mostly because it allows the merchant brand to stand at the forefront of the wallet, says Adil Moussa, payments strategic marketing analyst at Omaha, Neb.-based Adil Consulting.
"I wouldn't want to have to go to the Apple store to look up the name of a French company I wasn't too familiar with to download an app," Moussa says. "Having the merchant drive the wallet makes sense."
The fast-food world is a solid market for white-label wallet providers, Moussa adds. "The only downside would be a consumer who likes seven or eight different fast-food locations," Moussa says. "I know some consumers like to download a lot of apps, but I am not sure they would do it for that many different fast-food restaurants."
Still, Leroyer says merchants don't want third-party wallets that aggregate various brands and retailers.
"The only relevant wallet is merchant-driven," Leroyer says.
Airtag is not looking to solve a payments problem at the moment. "Payments are important, but you first have to find a business case for the merchants," Leroyer says. "In fast food and groceries, that business case is easier ordering and faster pickup."
Airtag will approach other verticals later, but the business case for mobile payments has not matured yet in many retail sectors, Leroyer says.
Airtag, which began operations in France in 2006, opened a New York office in the past year to begin making inroads in the U.S. market.
The company will market its Airshop software to fast-food retailers, grocery stores and eventually "casual table service restaurants" in the U .S., Leroyer adds.
In the meantime, the company is working with terminal manufacturers to synchronize the application identifiers to allow Airshop to work on any point of sale system in the market, Leroyer says.
"It is absolutely critical to have seamless integration and real-time mobile ordering and payments at the POS," he adds.
In the financial sector, Airtag provides Airpass software that allows banks to support cloud-based or Near Field Communication payments.
Airtag does not develop mobile banking software, so its services with banks tend to be designed for better communication with merchant payment apps or through gateway services, Leroyer says.