Braintree: ‘Contextual’ PayPal Commerce Makes Online Retail Acceptable

As online and mobile shopping continues to grow in popularity, the need for retailers to invest in their ecommerce platforms has never been greater. Businesses face a huge challenge in attracting new customers and fostering customer loyalty in an increasingly competitive landscape.

A poor online experience could be extremely damaging for retailers, who are looking for smarter and more intuitive ways to target customers and get them to spend money.


Harper Reed, head of commerce at PayPal subsidiary Braintree believes ‘contextual commerce’ is the way forward.

Braintree was behind the launch of PayPal Commerce earlier this year.

The platform lets businesses place ‘buy’ buttons on social media, emails and adverts in the hopes of encouraging a sale.

“We’re starting to see that money is now borderless – it doesn’t have business hours,” Reed told TechWeekEurope.“This new money thing is real…it’s here [and] there’s an opportunity here to break down the rules we grew up with. Commerce is global – there isn’t a border…Every market is right for disruption.”

And this disruption is set to be big business, particularly when it comes to mobile shopping. Recent research found shopping app use grew faster than any other category of apps in 2015. Mobile shopping now accounts for 50.3 percent of all ecommerce traffic; yet conversion still remains drastically lower than on desktop.

“Mobile is now,” Reed said. “We can’t be thinking about it being the future when most of the infrastructure of the internet is being accessed by a range of devices all of the time.”

Coming soon?

Reed said PayPal Commerce will open up mobile shopping for businesses of all sizes in any industry. The idea is simple. By bringing the transaction closer to the customer, it cuts out awkward steps that could results in customers losing patience and giving up.

“Everyone is very excited about [PayPal Commerce] – but there’s a lot of questions around: ‘what does commerce look like in the future?’

“For the most part, when we go to a retailer, [the shopping experience] doesn’t necessarily work,” he said, claiming that many businesses still have a lot of work to do to migrate away from what he described as ‘old commerce’.

The ‘Buy’ buttons are seen as an example of contextual commerce, offering relevancy to online shopping

“By making [online retail] easy, we’re making it acceptable” Reed says, “There’s no limit. We’re not doing anything crazy – we’re doing the logical next step, but with the infrastructure to support it.”

Reed certainly doesn’t lack confidence and said the team is focused on rolling out and expanding PayPal Commerce to as many businesses as possible.

“We are not the underdogs here; we are the ones who are going to win.”

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Mike Moore

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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