As of today (March 20), that merchant base is likely to get much bigger, as Amazon and Worldpay have officially announced that they have paired to make Worldpay the first acquirer to fully enable Amazon Pay for its merchants. Through this relationship, U.S.-based Worldpay merchants will be able to use Amazon Pay to provide a more expedited and seamless online checkout experience.
It’s big news, and a great leap forward for the payments service, Amazon Pay Vice President Patrick Gauthier noted in a conversation with PYMNTS’ Karen Webster and Asif Ramji, chief product and marketing officer at Worldpay, on the eve of the announcement. That is due to how many merchants this pair-up will have the power to essentially flip on in a single shot. It’s an “upwards of a million merchants,” he noted.
While enabling a better, more data-rich experience is an important heavy lift, Gauthier said, today’s announcement is really a starting place.
The immediate focus of the pair-up is to connect Amazon’s massive base of 100 million Prime customers with Worldpay’s merchants via the web and mobile experience, he said. However, once those connections are made, there are all kinds of possibilities for building up and off the digital foundation being laid by the two firms today.
It might mean, for example, different multichannel experiences for customers who shop online and offline with a retailer — like cashierless payments or easy buy-online, return-in-store processes. It might mean building better data-gathering and targeting strategies by using Amazon Pay as a sign-in when a customer enters the site — as opposed to being the last thing they see before they check out.
This could be a toe into building a bigger presence within Amazon proper, by putting up its own micro-storefront on Amazon. It might also involve building out bigger and broader uses of Amazon’s voice ecosystem and assistant Alexa.
“As merchants connect with Amazon Pay, it is going to make it easier for them to extend the ways in which they interact with their buyer,” Gauthier explained. “There is a great potential here for Amazon Pay with Worldpay to set the starting point for a host of new innovations from merchants.”
The New Checkout Infrastructure
The move to partner with Worldpay, Gauthier said, was inspired by Amazon’s desire to continue expanding Amazon Pay’s reach to larger merchants as part of its natural evolution — which, in turn, led the company to seek out a relationship with a large acquirer.
“We started to really think about how [we] not only simplify integration and onboarding, but [how to] better manage operations on an ongoing basis. We decided the best solution for us was to integrate with a large merchant acquirer, as that simplifies a lot of the day-to-day issues around settlement, reconciliation, reporting and dispute management,” he said.
Worldpay, with its size — over 40 billion transactions processed through more than 300 payment types across 146 countries and 126 currencies — and suite of services for its merchant partners, he noted, is critical in removing “a ton of friction” and making it that much easier for a merchant to adopt.
Merchants, Ramji said, will be getting — for all intents and purposes — push-button access to Amazon Pay at checkout, without a heavy or complicated integration process. Instead, he added, the key differentiator with the pair-up is a new custom-built application programming interface (API), designed to ensure seamless onboarding for Amazon Pay, using Worldpay as a payment gateway provider and acquirer.
Though neither Amazon or Worldpay would confirm any merchants already working with the new API integration, they are out there, as the program was piloted prior to today’s launch. Gauthier noted that the companies expect to soon be joined by quite a few others, as interest in the program has been “keen” so far.
That is, in and of itself, an indication of just how far and fast the market has evolved as of late, he explained. Four years ago, trying to push Amazon Pay was a challenge — as the company heard a lot of responses, saying, “Wait, you’re in this business?”
Amazon doesn’t hear that anymore, or much in the way of objections to Amazon Pay entering the flow of commerce.
“We’re not here to insert ourselves between a merchant and customer; we’re here to remove friction points,” Gauthier said. “We have found the conversation has really changed, and now, the focus is on ‘how can I create a better experience for my customer? How can I engage with the Amazon audience? And how can I do that without too much disruption to my operations.’”
The Bigger Possibilities
With the release today, merchants will be able to start building that better experience with a smarter, smoother, more streamlined checkout. Going forward, Gauthier noted, this partnership will make it possible to showcase the many ways different merchants can take full advantage of Amazon Pay on their sites.
With checkout streamlined, as well as all that goes on behind it, both Ramji and Gauthier noted that it creates a space for merchants to build around a host of best digital practices — and figure out where to apply them to build the correct consumer experience.
Those better experiences are an opportunity for all involved. Amazon will likely see its total ecosystem grow as Amazon Pay becomes a touchpoint around which digital experiences are optimized. Other digital merchants, on the other hand, have a chance to see Amazon as a force that can be worked with, as opposed to one that needs to be battled on every front.
What those experiences will be, both executives noted, time will tell, and Gauthier noted that they will likely look different from merchant to merchant. Yet, he is confident they are coming, with a little help from Amazon’s friends at Worldpay.
“What we want is to lay the foundation so that we can help the digital house,” Gauthier said.