The online art marketplace Etsy is steadily expanding its range of payment services, with its latest move taking aim at social media.

Through its work with Zantler, Etsy now allows merchants to create actionable social media posts that take shoppers to an Etsy shopping cart from Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest and Tumblr. The adoption of Zantler's shoppost product follows Etsy's October release of the Sell on Etsy Reader, a free mobile card reader that allows Etsy merchants to sell their crafts offline.

Etsy's other moves in payments include the 2012 launch of Direct Checkout, an alternative to PayPal; and virtual gift cards that operate on the Direct Checkout platform.

The shoppost product enables merchants to create social media posts that allow customers to scroll through pictures of an item, select its size and/or color and click on a shopping cart icon to purchase. The sale is completed in a separate browser tab.

"It allows consumers to have a quick path from where they see the product and then checkout with the product in the custom fashion they're used to seeing…instead of disintermediating it," said James Lively, president and chief operating officer at Zantler.

Zantler has also launched shoppost on Shopify, Bigcommerce and Amazon Webstore. Harley Davidson and the women's apparel seller Spiegel also use shoppost. Zantler doesn't currently charge for shoppost sales, focusing instead on customer acquisition.

Because the product doesn't interject itself into the merchant/customer experience, consumers aren't confused about who they're purchasing from and what company is in charge of fulfillment.

This has been a problem in the past when third parties provide the checkout page for merchants, said Lively. Consumers have reached out to the third party payment gateway instead of the merchant when they have questions about shipping or returns, and then the third party had to relay that information to the merchant, he said.

A share button is also implanted into the post, so consumers can help promote the merchant. The post "will take on a life of its own, and start propagating in the wild," Lively said.

When a merchant wants to make a change to the product, such as offering a discounted price or removing a color because it's sold out, the merchant makes one change within the shoppost dashboard and all posts are automatically updated.

Five or six Etsy merchants tested shoppost before the Dec. 16 launch. 

On the back end, Zantler provides an analytics dashboard to show merchants how shoppost posts are performing. Merchants can see how many buys are coming from mobile and PC, what location purchases come from and which social network brings in the most clicks.

This data helps merchants optimize their budgets for promoting posts, Lively said. In the next couple months, Zantler will tie its product directly into the Etsy website so merchants can know exactly what item was bought.

Zantler started out in the music business, offering the "shareable, shoppable" posts for digital downloads. Between 2008 and 2009, Zantler decided to push the product to physical goods.

When Zantler entered the space, merchants already had trusted inventory management and e-commerce platforms. "We're not offering people another e-commerce platform…instead we're tying into the existing platforms," said Lively. 

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