Braintree's new tech for sellers that worry about business lost to digital partners

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Braintree's newest offering is designed to make e-commerce partnerships easier — at least, from a technology perspective.

Braintree Extend is meant to keep customers on an e-commerce merchant's site rather than forcing them to a partner's site to complete a purchase.

"In many cases, the discovery platform acts as an aggregator, provides content and owns the checkout experience," Azita Habibi, senior manager of business development at Braintree, said in a Tuesday blog post. "But they may not want to take on the work or liability of post-purchase activities."

Braintree Extend focuses on three significant areas of payments: transaction services, rewards and contextual commerce. "To help increase efficiency, merchants can partner with rewards platforms, online-to-offline commerce platforms and even directly with card networks to provide cash-back or card-linked offers," she added. Braintree is a unit of PayPal.

Mostly, Braintree Extend eliminates the need for merchants to engage in complicated and different integrations into the same network with various partners, said Richard Crone, chief executive of San Carlos, Calif.-based payments consulting firm Crone Consulting LLC.

But the "hottest" payments service that Braintree Extend addresses is contextual commerce, Crone added.

"Contextual commerce means you brought customers into your site and rather than hypertext link them to another site to complete a purchase, you try to keep them within your experience to do that," Crone said. "Companies are just now figuring out how to monetize contextual commerce."

Braintree acknowledges contextual commerce is in its infancy in some markets, but said merchants in Asia and other parts of the world are partnering with others to enable users to purchase directly from new channels.

Similarly, merchants want to have a direct relationship with consumers they have found via third-party channels "rather than risk losing them to potentially conversion-slashing click-throughs and redirects," Habibi added.

For example, music artist-and-performance discovery platform Bandsintown is leveraging Braintree Extend to connect to various ticketing companies, allowing a user to discover certain shows and purchase tickets without leaving the Bandsintown site.

Braintree Extend also powers the Yelp Cash Back card-linked loyalty program. "Deployed by thousands of merchants, users sign up with Yelp and receive real-time cash rebates at the point of sale when dining and shopping with participating merchants," Habibi said.

Through various Braintree partnerships, the company has provided an easy path for merchants to take advantage of all of these services under one umbrella, Crone said.

"These are the three plus-one features that all of the payment processors have been trying to go after for many years," he said.

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