VeriFone buys Global Bay to win mobile retail market

VeriFone(s pay), which makes many of the point of sale terminals consumers use, has expanded its presence to mobile devices with its PayWare card swipe sleeve and app, which competes with Square. Now, it’s looking to double down on its retail mobile strategy by buying Global Bay Mobile, which provides a suite of mobile software for smartphones, tablets and other devices that enable salespeople to engage customers away from the point of sale terminal. The terms of the transaction, which closed Tuesday, have not been released.

Global Bay provides a number of retail apps such as mobile point of sale, customer relations and inventory management software that connect into existing back-end systems from companies such as Oracle (s orcl), IBM (s ibm), SAP (s sap) and Epicor (s epic). Salespeople can look up stock, provide additional information on products, gather customer preferences and complete transactions all from the sales floor.

Global Bay, which was founded in South Plainfield, NJ in 2002, counts Guess Jeans, Timberland, True Religion, Crocs, and other retailers as its customers. It said it increased revenue by 55 percent and tripled its customer base last year.

The move heightens the competition to facilitate in-store shopping for retailers. Square has blazed a trail, introducing its simple credit card reader and has followed up with an iPad (s aapl) register app, that allows retailers to manage inventory and customer relations, and run analytics against their sales. PayPal (s ebay) has been marshaling its resources to make a play for in-store transactions with a suite of solutions that cover in-store check-out from a mobile device, product barcode scanning and the ability to choose a payment method after a transaction. Google (s goog) and Isis (a joint venture of Verizon(s vz), AT&T (s t) and T-Mobile) are also moving forward with in-store payment systems based on near field communication (NFC) technology.

VeriFone is poised to benefit if NFC takes off, because its terminals will handle those transactions. But it seems like the company sees a bigger opportunity in providing a full solution for any retailer, not just those looking to jump on NFC. It reminds me a little of where start-up Erply is going. The Estonian company has released an iPad payment dongle that can handle card swipes and NFC payments and can connect to Erply’s cloud POS and inventory software. The goal is to be the go-to provider for retailers as they look to tap all the different ways mobile payments and shopping transform the in-store buying experience.