Shopify taps Venmo for a boost to social shopping

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Shopify is no stranger to social media — it’s had a partnership with Facebook for three years — and it sees Venmo users' social sharing habits as the perfect means to expand its mobile commerce platform.

About 70 percent of Shopify’s sales volume comes from mobile devices, and a large share of its customers are the same young, social media-obsessed crowd with whom the P2P service Venmo is most popular, said Brandon Chu, Shopify’s director of platform.

Shopify also hopes Venmo users’ habit of sharing payment activity with friends on social media will extend to sharing inspiration for e-commerce purchases.

“We see a big potential crossover between Shopify’s mobile commerce enthusiasts and Venmo, a network built around how people are spending their money,” Chu said.

The e-commerce play could accelerate growth for Pay with Venmo, an option PayPal has been gradually expanding with merchants including ticketing and food providers since 2015. Uber was the latest to add Pay with Venmo.

Venmo drove strong payments volume gains during the third quarter, reaching $17 billion, which Shopify and others clearly want to tap.

Shopify also has partnerships with Amazon Pay and Klarna, and it uses its proprietary Dynamic Checkout service to determine the most appropriate funding options for each e-commerce merchant on its platform based on data, Chu said.

Venmo will be automatically appear as a checkout option for all merchants that already accept PayPal, Chu said, declining to share how many of its sites accept PayPal.

“Teaming up with Venmo isn’t even a chicken-and-egg problem, because the users are already here. There are not many payment gateways as large as Venmo that target such a specific audience,” he said.

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P-to-P payments Mobile payments Online payments Shopify Venmo PayPal