Intuit Inc. has dipped its toe in the payments pond often, and now the business software provider wants to make a bigger splash by enticing more merchants to use QuickBooks Online.
To further this strategy, Intuit is partnering with e-commerce platforms Bigcommerce and Shopify to enable online merchants (or those contemplating e-commerce) to use QuickBooks Payments and other tools to automatically update, reconcile and transfer accounting data.
The pitch is less about cross-selling other Intuit products to QuickBooks users and more about recasting Intuit's range of payments and business offerings as the means to conduct business across multiple channels.
Square engaged in a similar partnership this month with Bigcommerce and Weebly in an effort to make it easier for its small merchants to sell on the Web.
Intuit has 29 million businesses in the U.S. and 600 million globally using QuickBooks, giving the software maker a stronger position as it works to bring small businesses into using more of its services, said Thad Peterson, senior analyst with Boston-based Aite Group.
"A lot of these businesses are trying to move toward an omni-channel model, where you can deliver payments capabilities across the board and integrate that into a richer data set," Peterson said.
The new arrangement with e-commerce providers is focused on automating bookkeeping tasks for merchants, but it also represents a continuation of Intuit's strategy to provide an open cloud-based platform for developers wanting to participate in the company's business and payments application offerings.
"We depend on best-of-breed in business apps to help us serve our customers better," said Avi Golan, vice president and general manager of Intuit Developer Group.
Intuit wants all business and payments apps working together "as invisible and simple as possible" for small-business owners, Golan said.
Merchants trying QuickBooks Online through Bigcommerce or Shopify will have a link to set up QuickBooks Payments as the payment gateway on the control panel of their online store.
Those who already have a QuickBooks account can click on the QuickBooks Payments button to immediately establish the gateway. Those without an account can register to set it up.
"The retail industry functions online, in physical stores and everywhere in between. Together with Intuit, we're working to connect those channels to make business more efficient," said Melanie Kalemba, senior vice president of sales and strategic business development at Bigcommerce.
Intuit has the same goal, considering it can also offer a presence in the physical retail setting with its GoPayment mobile card reader and its recent advancements with Revel Systems at the point of sale.
Intuit is working with Revel on QuickBooks Point of Sale, an iPad-based system for retail, grocery stores, restaurants and other businesses. Intuit launched that product last month, linking it with QuickBooks to support sales, payments, inventory and payroll.
Calling the Revel partnership "a nice target for both companies to attract customers and convert them," Golan said more than 60 customers have signed up for QuickBooks Point of Sale already and the company is targeting thousands by the end of 2015.
These recent developments signal that Intuit wants to position its technology as an open platform, Golan added.
"We also have integrations with Square and PayPal and we are open to all of it," Golan said. "We have more than 900 business apps on our platform and it is increasing every day. A year ago we had eight, so you can see the potential of being an open platform."
Intuit's platform strategy will also play well in a growing and changing payments landscape, Aite's Peterson said.
"Payments has always been a subset of commerce, and we're just figuring that out now," Peterson said. "Commerce players like Intuit are probably in a real good place, whereas payments players may or may not be."