Payments Dialog

Payments Dialog: Building Payments to Elevate the Shopping Experience (A conversation with Acquire App)

Acquire App joins us on Payments Dialog to give us insights into how payments can be used to elevate the shopping experience.

Written by
Peter Mollins
Publication Date
January 30, 2022
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Florent Breton, co-founder and CEO of Acquire App, joins us on Payments Dialog to talk improving the shopper journey and how payments plays an important role in the process of creating an embedded checkout experience.

Want to learn more about how Spreedly can help your organization adapt and grow your payments? Reach out to us here.

Rough transcript of this Payments Dialog:

Peter Mollins:

Hi everybody, this is Peter Mollins with Spreedly, really excited to have you here for another Payments Dialog. Very excited to have Florent Breton, who's the cofounder and CEO of Acquire. We're going to be talking about payments and the checkout experience today, so Florent, welcome to Payments Dialog.

Florent Breton:

Thank you so much, Peter, for having me over.

Peter Mullins:

Absolutely. So if you don't mind, maybe can you give me a bit of an overview of Acquire and its founding story? I'd love to hear that.

Florent Breton:

Sure, very much. So I cofounded Acquire with my very good friend Maxime, another French pal, and we cofounded the business out of San Francisco in California last year in 2020, just a week before the whole city went into a lockdown, we thought that that would be perfect timing for us to start up a venture. And eventually, we wanted address something that we have been experiencing as shoppers. We have seen that the shopping experience is somehow too transactional and you go from a very engaging email or a very engaging messages by an influencer or a very elevated, polished marketing email to a product description page which is very transactional. And we were observing the shopper journey right here and we're also assessing the different marketplaces, the different website builder for e-retailers, and we were seeing a great opportunity for us to build what we called "shopping pages", or an off-site shopping site where we can take shoppers from, "This is what I see, this is what I want," to a page that highlights a product in a very polished way with an embedded checkout, so they will stay on the same page and have a very frictionless experience. So that has been the starting point of our journey, back last year in 2020. We're a small team, we're a team of 12 people across the US and Canada and we're growing.

Peter Mullins:

That's growth. Yeah, that's really an interesting strategy, because it is true that once you're on the product page, maybe you've been convinced to go ahead and purchase it, and now suddenly you have to go through three different pages to actually make that purchase. But if you keep them on the page, they're reassured that that's what they're buying, so they don't have to go through a variety of steps. It just must be so good for customer experience.

Florent Breton:

It is indeed, very much. We've counted an average of five to seven page redirection on the average customer journey from, "This is what I want to buy," to, "I complete that transaction." And shoppers like you and I but also even more the Gen Z, they crave for immediacy. They want to have that product right here, right now, and they don't necessarily need to be taken throughout a very cumbersome journey. So yes, we want to have something very simple, very easy to use, very mobile-friendly as well, and that's what we're going after.

Peter Mullins:

Yeah. And for confidence on purchasing, I know I've had the experience where I've gone to purchase something, I've gone through those three steps and I was thinking, "Did I select the right thing?" But if you have the checkout experience right on that product page, that makes it even easier to demonstrate that they're purchasing the right thing.

Florent Breton:

Exactly. So we really wanted to have not only a landing page... there are so many landing pages out there... but we wanted to have not only the landing page but the checkout solution embedded into that page. And this is where things were getting a little bit more challenging for us, because checkout is often seen as a very transactional part of the customer journey. They have to enter their information and their credit card information, they have to start a process where it takes them from entering, validating that information, along with shipping and billing addresses and so on and so forth.

Florent Breton:

So we've seen that the transactional piece of buying and processing payment was not where we, as a software company, would be adding value. And we really wanted to focus on building a solution that will be very easy to use for merchants, very much elevating the experience of shoppers, but also leaning on a very solid checkout solution. And this is where we've been shopping around and say, "Well, do we need to reinvent the wheel and build our very own payment gateway or what should we be doing here?" So we've been asking merchants and they have very much made their choice beforehand, saying, "I want to use payment gateway A, B, or C," for a lot of different reasons. And we're just thinking, "Well, is there a way we can just connect to this payment gateway?" And this is when we eventually discovered Spreedly.

Peter Mullins:

That's great. So that allows you to then, whenever you're having a sale with a new customer, you're able to just say, right off the bat, "Here's a list of all the gateways that we can support via Spreedly," and you're able to offer those right out of the box.

Florent Breton:

That is exactly right. When we talk to merchants, we tell them, "Here is a solution, here is a mission, here is how we see the market evolving, with these very simple landing pages with embedded checkout. We lean on your existing e-commerce platform, but you know what? We also lean on your existing payment gateway." And that's a very reassuring message that we have here. So we can focus once again on what matters most and where we can create and capture value around the solution that we have. So for them it was a no brainer. They can just publish a secret key, as they are used to do that here and there, and connect with our very own software. They see their transaction flowing as they are used to, and it seems like very much seamless and this is really what we want to offer.

Peter Mullins:

That's great. And I imagine for getting them up and running really quickly, it's just so much easier, because now they don't have to develop any kind of connection, they can just start running with those pre-built connections to one of those 120+ gateways, so that's great.

Florent Breton:

Yeah. That is exactly right, Peter. One, we tell merchants, "You can use any payment gateway as long as they have one of these 120 payment gateways that Spreedly offers." That's very reassuring and that's very much a selling point for us, for sure. We are all about fast tracking the experience, making the process very seamless for shoppers, so we want to have exactly the same kind of experience for merchants. We want the process of working with us to be very simple. And this is where we're very happy with the solution that we are using right now.

Peter Mullins:

That's terrific. So maybe I can step back a bit. As part of the checkout experience, you thought, obviously, a tremendous amount about getting a great checkout experience and providing that immediacy of it. How do think of payments and the payment part of the checkout process being part of the value that you're delivering?

Florent Breton:

Can you go a little bit deeper on that, to what do you mean by payment?

Peter Mullins:

Yeah. So when the person's actually putting in the credit card and making sure that it goes through, do you think of payments as being the actual act of giving the payment method, the credit card, the debit card or whatever, as part of delivering a great checkout experience?

Florent Breton:

Well, it is, once again, something transactional for us, but what we've seen as well is that the merchants we are working with want to leverage a very simple way for shoppers to buy their product, but they also want to have the opportunity of fast-tracking the very next purchase. So we have a lot of merchants who say, "You know what? I'm going to be offering very special discounts to acquire customers at very low price points, and then once they are in my marketing database, I can eventually upsell them to some other products." We're thinking, "Wait a minute, so we have processed already that very first transaction here. So we have the credit card information that is actually tokenized and saved on Spreedly services. So should the next experience be as heavy as the first one, meaning entering the credit card information, or is there a way that we can fast-track that experience?"

Florent Breton:

And that is exactly what we're doing, leaning on tokenization here, we are able to fast-track checkout once someone has placed the very first early, and they can buy in just one click, and that's a fantastic thing. The payment has not really become a variable in the shopping equation, it's just like a commodity out there for shoppers and that is fantastic. And we've seen merchants really keeping a close eye at, "How many of my shoppers are returning shoppers, and how many of them do I have fast-tracked into just that one click experience that everyone is going after?"

Peter Mullins:

That's an incredible experience. And you mentioned about mobile being important. Maybe could you describe what you see there from a mobile perspective and how you help your merchants?

Florent Breton:

Sure. We've still got 70% of the [inaudible 00:09:15] on mobile. It's going to be industry average, but we work with different brands, selling anything from tshirts to an electric bike, products going for a few dollars to a few thousand dollars. So we see a wide range of products and verticals that we are working with and at the same time, we see people just buying affordable and very expensive products on mobile. So we want to make sure that what we have here is mobile-friendly and from a UX and UI perspective, and once again, entering your payment information is part of it, so we have a process that is very easy for the first time you enter your credit card information. The second time shoppers come back on mobile it says, "Welcome back, Peter," and then send them a token, a four digit or six digit number to make sure that we are talking to the right person, and once they have passed the security... that checkpoint, we preload their existing payment information to fast-track the process online. So it's been a very successful flow, especially on mobile, as well.

Peter Mullins:

That's great. Now, one of the things you'd mentioned about the value that you're providing to your merchant customers is allowing them to focus on other things for themselves. So maybe that's better merchandising, maybe that's better product descriptions on their landing pages. So that's a big value. And I wonder, the idea for your own development team, you'd mentioned the size of your company earlier, allowing them to focus on some of the core value that Acquire offers, instead of having to worry about making those connections to multiple gateways and multiple PSPs. So I imagine that does free up time for the development team as well.

Florent Breton:

It does, very much. I think when we decided to go and work with Spreedly, we were addressing a very critical part of our business, processing payments without processing payments by ourselves. There were questions of compliance, there were questions of compatibility with payment gateways, there were questions that we didn't really want to address or work on because we knew that this is not where we can add value. And so for the rest of the team... as I mentioned earlier, we are a small team of talents at Acquire, the development team is focused on everything else but payments. And that's good, because that's where we want to focus on.

Peter Mullins:

Yeah, that's great. So now as you're moving forward, it's just fascinating what your team has already brought to market. Where do you see the future? What are the next steps for Acquire in the market?

Florent Breton:

That's very interesting, because we see a lot of evolution on the e-commerce space. We see the gigantic marketplaces where people can go and... you and I, we go on Amazon, we go on some other marketplaces, we see a lot of these products easily accessible, and a very transactional experience. One step aside, we see a website built on a fantastic website builder, I'm thinking of the Shopify or the Magento, all of these website builders, they are creating a fantastic experience for shoppers and merchants, but we also see sometimes a situation where these websites have dozens, hundreds, thousands of [inaudible 00:12:41], and then all of the sudden, you start diluting your marketing message and you're diluting the attention that shoppers have by creating a lot of distraction. "Here is the sale section, here is the the kids section, here is the best-sellers." And when you take shoppers from marketing collateral, whether it be an email, ad, influencer message, YouTube video, whatever, you don't necessarily want to have all that distraction.

Florent Breton:

So we see the market going to a very much more immediate shopper journey, and this is where we want to play. We want to say to merchants, "Keep on maintaining your existing e-commerce website. These are fantastic online stores. But if you are directing shoppers to something very specific, how about you get them to a page that only highlights one product and a few similar products related to what they are interested in?" And that's where we want to play and that's what we see the trend going right now.

Peter Mullins:

Got it. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, especially when you're doing a social campaign or if you're doing very targeted ad campaigns, I can very easily imagine just directing them to one product that, as a merchant, you're wanting to hype up or you're wanting to get momentum going. So it seems like an incredibly valuable solution here.

Florent Breton:

It is, it is, it is, very much. We're excited about the progress that the team has made over 2021 and we're excited about 2022.

Peter Mullins:

That's fantastic. Well, Florent, this has been a real pleasure. I really enjoyed hearing about your story and about the Acquire journey, and the value that you'll be able to bring to merchants. So thank you very much.

Florent Breton:

Thank you very much, Peter, for having me over. Thank you.

Peter Mullins:

Absolutely, thanks.

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