Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch provided some insight into online payments.
Canadian start up and Ottawa-based company Shopify announced a big change to its business model today, with the integration of Shopify Payments to its online storefront platform. Traditionally, as with other e-commerce solutions, merchants have had to set up a third-party payments processor like Stripe, PayPal or others and tied that to their online store account – now Shopify does both.
What’s the advantage? It’s much easier for merchants to set up, for one thing, as they don’t have to go and set up a payments processor separately. Shopify Payments also ties store inventory and sales directly to revenue and payments information, so that you can see in real-time when payments come in and for what instead of having to stitch together that data from multiple sources.
Other advantages include instant approval of merchant payment accounts, so that as soon as a store goes live on Shopify the payments engine is already in place, as well as charge back recovery, which allows sellers to have a better chance of winning out during disputes since Shopify auto-generates full reports about the nature and specifics of chargebacks for any charges contested by consumers.
“A lot of our customers that we’ve spoken to just kind of expected Shopify to be taking care of this for them,” explained Louis Kearns, Shopify’s Director of Payments during an interview. “If you haven’t sold online before, you’d open up your store and you’d want to be able to accept credit cards right away, and we’re happy to be able to solve that for them.”
Shopify also offers a unique spin on pricing that could save its customers money. This works by changing the rate of transactions based on what kind of Shopify plan the merchant already has, so for Basic plan users the rate is 2.9 percent plus $0.30 per transaction, but for Pro users it’s 2.5 percent plus $0.30, and for Unlimited plans it’s 2.25 percent plus $0.30. In other words, higher volume merchants get a rate price break, and that doesn’t require any additional work to happen – if you’re on one of those plans already you’re already getting that rate. Also, there are no additional fees for processing American Express or international credit cards, or for PCI Compliance, unlike at many existing payment gateways.
Future plans for the Shopify payments processing integration include opening up to additional payment sources, and this is definitely a project that Shopify is putting resources behind, rather than just a one-time feature release.
“We have a payments team dedicated to this project now and this is just the first of many releases to come,” Kearns said. “There’s payment methods that are accepted internationally that we hope to add to the platform, and certainly we’ll be listening to feature requests that our customers have and adding those and releasing those on a monthly basis moving forward.”
Shopify runs over 35,000 stores in the U.S., and over 60,000 internationally, so its decision to offer more affordable payments processing in-house is likely going to have some impact for the larger online payments space. And for retailers just getting online, it means no-fuss setup that would give them little reason to look elsewhere, so we’ll have to see what percentage of Shopify users use the built-in gateway as of this time next year.