'Amazon Pay Places' takes on order-ahead apps

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Turning a pre-existing digital payment network into an in-store line buster has been a key play for Starbucks and Square, and Amazon is weighing in with its own app that allows its huge network of users to streamline retail experiences.

Called Amazon Pay Places, the feature allows people to pay in store and preorder using their amazon app instead of cash, checks, credit or debit cards. TGI Fridays is among the first stores to adopt the feature, reports TechCrunch, which adds more in-store applications are on the way.

Amazon Pay Places is a new addition to Amazon Pay, a PayPal alternative that allows merchants to add a buy button that lets shoppers pay with their Amazon account information, a move designed to reduce cart abandonment by giving consumers another reason to stay within the Amazon ecosystem.

It's also another way in which Amazon is flexing its considerable muscle to offer alternatives to traditional shopping, even outside of its core e-commerce business.

Amazon is attempting to tie its existing e-commerce user credentials to a variety of brick and mortar scenarios, such as its no-cashier Go concept store, or its planned acquisition of Whole Foods, which is expected to integrate Amazon's technology into supermarkets.

Amazon charges 2.9% plus $0.30 Amazon Pay transactions, and has drawn more than 33 million users to the app.

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