Silicon Valley-based micromobility startup Bird is launching an in-app payments feature that enables its electronic scooter (eScooter) riders to buy from local merchants, Bird announced on Tuesday (Feb. 25).
Bird Pay links its riders with local businesses to help drive purchases. The new payments feature is currently being trialed with select merchants in Los Angeles and Santa Monica.
More than 58 percent of Bird rides start or end at local businesses each day, according to the firm, which said Bird Pay was forged because local businesses asked for it.
“An early insight that emerged shortly after introducing Bird in Santa Monica was that it had the potential to not only allow people to avoid the chore of circling a block to find parking resulting in congestion and frustration, but it could also foster a more direct connection between people and local businesses,” said Bird CEO and Founder Travis VanderZanden. “Store owners in the community often tell me, ‘Birds outside bring business inside.’ This phenomenon paired with our commitment to community resulted in Bird Pay which helps drive even more customers to local businesses.”
Internal surveys indicate that in the 100-plus municipalities where Bird runs its shared eScooter service, businesses found that riders brought store traffic. With Bird Pay, riders can pay merchants using just their Bird app, without the need to disclose payment information. There’s no handling of cards or cash.
“Harvest Bar was thrilled to be the first local business to partner with Bird to test Bird Pay. Since Bird launched in Los Angeles, we’ve seen an increase in foot traffic as locals and tourists explore the area, and pop in and enjoy a healthy snack or meal,” said Aric Haut, owner of Harvest Bar. “It made sense to offer riders an effortless way to purchase our famous acai bowls and smoothies using the mode of transportation that brought them to Harvest Bar.”
Founded in 2017 by VanderZanden, Bird operates shared electric scooters in over 100 cities in Europe, the Middle East, and North America. In its first year of business, it had 10 million rides.
In July, Bird announced the opening of a new hub in Paris. The company planned to hire 1,000 people over two years to help spur the growth of its eScooter service across the European continent.