Retail website developer Weebly is using Stripe's technology to add shopping and payments capabilities to the sites it supports for small merchants.

Weebly's merchants are mostly very small, so they fall outside of the typical marketplace, says David Rusenko, CEO and co-founder of Weebly. Weebly's merchants sell items like homemade barbecue sauce, yoga services and handcrafted stuffed animals.  

"The experience of buying something on Amazon is amazing. It's fast and the checkout experience is great. The experience for very small retailers that sell online has been less than good," he says.

Weebly just finished developing an e-commerce portal that includes Stripe-powered payments along with other elements of retail management, shopping and marketing. To gain adoption for its new portal, Weebly aims to leverage its base of more than 30,000 online retailers that sell about $13 million each month from about 8 million buyers.

Weebly charges a 3% transaction fee on top of Stripe's normal 2.9% transaction fee, though Weebly offers a variety of subscription packages that reduce Weebly's transaction fees, including a package that charges $25 per month with no Weebly transaction fee.

Weebly's new technology supports mobile optimization, international payments in 25 currencies, filtered product search that highlights relevant products, the ability to link to slideshows and videos that detail products, an integrated shopping cart and checkout function, and inventory tracking that can be tied to marketing or sales.

"It's not often that a small merchant can get that kind of experience," Rusenko says.

Retailers can sell downloadable items that are automatically delivered to their customers via email with a one-time use link. For physical products, sellers can customize the sales experience to support customization, services and donations. Sellers set rates for different shipping speeds, couriers and locations.

Other payment companies are also closely matching online shopping with mobile and web payments.

American Express and ShopRunner are co-marketing PayRunner, a ShopRunner product that allows consumers to bypass the checkout process online. Braintree, an online payments processor that is scheduled to be acquired by eBay, also offers streamlined payments via its purchase of Venmo.

Among mobile payment companies that target small merchants, Square recently launched an online storefront and Roam is configuring its mobile payments products based on the user.  Stripe, Weebly's development partner, has also taken steps to streamline checkout

"While [the crowded technology market] may not be great news for the vendors—it's becoming increasingly difficult to stay ahead of the competition I would assume — it's fantastic news for their customers as they'll get increasingly sophisticated tools," says Gareth Lodge, a senior analyst in Celent's banking group.

The platforms also have limitations in building a market, Lodge says. "While these platforms absolutely help, they don't solve the '3 Ps' — price, product and place — the latter being how you get people to your store in the first place," Lodge says.

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