As promised, Facebook Pay is venturing further out beyond the borders of its home turf: The core payments platform for Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp now lands on Shopify as a new way for customers to purchase goods at merchant stores in the U.S., the social media company announced Wednesday.
The system, which is just shy of two years old, launched as a way to transmit money inside the Facebook universe, primarily so users could pay for digital or physical goods, donate to charity or send money to friends. The Shopify rollout could significantly grow the payment platform’s footprint, considering the Ottawa-based retail tech juggernaut’s $1.12 billion in revenue as of the second quarter and 1.7 million businesses across more than 175 countries. That’s just the beginning. The plan is to extend Facebook Pay to more platforms and payment service providers over time.
This move is not entirely surprising, as the company previously signaled its intention to expand Facebook payments outside of its own apps. The motivation looks clear as well — and in case it’s not, chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg shed some light on that in his June earnings call.
The expansion of Facebook Pay, he said, “means that you’re going to start seeing it as a checkout option on the web and especially in web views that you see within our app after clicking on ads or other business content. The commerce experiences are now accessible across most of our services, and we have a full road map of deeper integrations that I’m excited about in the months ahead.”
The company’s payments bid is starting to look like a crucial element of its growing social commerce business. If more people rely on Facebook Pay, they may be more likely to shop Facebook’s family of apps as well, since they’d already have accounts set up and saved credit card or bank details on file.
Already, other recent Facebook moves point to the sort of ease and convenience that are likely in store for such shoppers. After announcing QR codes and payment links in June, which allows Facebook users to more easily send or request money, the company rolled out a new feature last month that lets users receive cash gifts directly through Messenger and other Facebook apps.
The latter looks like a cleverly designed way to get more people into the Facebook Pay platform. According to its blog, “Once you confirm your Facebook Pay details, the cash gift will be instantly deposited into your bank account.” The prospect of fast cash seems like a rather decent motivator to get people to sign up.
And once they’re in, Zuckerberg & Co. are betting that they’ll stay and do some shopping.
For its part, Shopify also has its own payments system, and it has big plans for that as well. According to the company, “Shop Pay will become available to all merchants selling in the U.S. on Facebook and Google, even if they don’t use Shopify’s online store, positioning Shop Pay to become the preferred checkout for all merchants, whether they are on Shopify’s platform or not.”