Earlier this month, Stripe launched Relay — an API that lets online stores publish their products and sell them directly through apps like Twitter and ShopStyle. For example, a company that’s active on Twitter can tweet about a product, complete with a fully functional Buy Now button.
Instead of clicking through to the merchant’s website and filling in a long order form, customers can buy products directly within Twitter, ShopStyle or any other supported apps.
Relay makes it easier than ever for customers to shop for products online, avoiding the difficult process of working through a long, confusing checkout form on a mobile device. It also makes it easier for merchants to market and sell their products directly through third party apps.
Currently, Relay supports four platforms: Twitter, ShopStyle, InMobi and Spring. The API is also being used by some big names in retail already — as of its launch in mid-September, brands like Warby Parker and Saks Fifth Avenue had already started using Relay to sell products online.
From letting merchants account for a large range of product attributes to simplifying shopping for customers, Relay provides a huge amount of value on both sides of the transaction. Read on to learn more about how Relay helps make mobile shopping easier for merchants and users alike.
Stripe Relay: The Basics
- Stripe Relay lets merchants use the Buy Button in apps like Twitter to sell products directly to customers without the need for a long checkout form. With Relay, buying products online only requires a few taps from the consumer.
- Relay is free to existing Stripe customers. While Relay is available in all countries that are supported by Stripe, there are some app-specific regional limitations that may limit international usage.
- Mobile devices account for 60% of browser traffic, but mobile customers only make 15% of online purchases. Stripe hopes that Relay can simplify the shopping process for users of tablets and smartphones, increasing mobile purchase volume.
- Adding products to Stripe Relay is simple. Merchants can add their product information via the API or the Stripe dashboard, then instantly share and sell products on Twitter. It’s also possible to integrate Relay directly with SAP Hybris.
- Over 50 million people tweet their intent to purchase something (“I need” or “I want”) every month. Relay lets merchants tap into a huge audience in apps that, until now, haven’t been built with ecommerce in mind.
How Stripe Relay Works for Merchants
As a merchant, using Stripe Relay is simple. You can add your entire product catalog to Relay or add individual products using the API or Stripe dashboard. From there, you can select which apps have permission to access specific product data.
Merchants can set shipping and tax preferences from within the Stripe dashboard for use with Relay. When a customer buys something using Relay, or when one of several events happens, the merchant will receive a webhook notification.
The customer’s name, email and shipping address are provided through Relay, making it easy to communicate with the customer. Stripe automatically handles inventory changes, making the process of selling through Relay hands-off and simple.
Refunds and chargebacks are handled the same as any non-Relay payment. Reporting is also handled through the Stripe dashboard, making it easy to stay on top of your Relay sales data.
Stripe has a full Relay API Overview for merchants that explains the process of setting up and using Stripe Relay with apps like Twitter and ShopStyle.
How Stripe Relay Works for Customers
As a customer, Stripe Relay offers a simple alternative to the overly complicated process of buying products on a mobile device. Instead of being directed to a merchant’s website from apps, transactions are processed from within the app using Relay.
This results in a much smoother checkout process for customers. Since payment information is stored and customers don’t need to fill out several pages of complicated forms, buying products is no longer a challenging process even on small mobile devices.
After a customer buys a product using Stripe Relay, their order information is emailed to them using the email address provided through Relay.
Because receipts and other email communications are managed by the merchant, customers get the same post-sale service as they would had they purchased a product directly from the merchant’s desktop website.
How Stripe Relay Works for App Developers
As a developer, Stripe Relay provides a convenient way to let your app’s users shop for their favourite products within your app. Thanks to application fees, Relay also provides your app with a source of revenue earned through product sales.
Stripe’s Relay API for Apps guide walks developers through the process of setting up Relay within their apps. Before you start, you’ll need to register your platform with Stripe Connect.