Economic change is accelerating. New companies and technology (such as artificial intelligence chatbots) are disrupting the status quo in every industry, creating brand-new customer experiences. The current economic climate has only raised the stakes for enterprises to adapt or become obsolete. Faced with slowing demand (71% of consumers plan to buy less or trade down) and the pressure to reduce costs, it’s now more important than ever for enterprises to focus valuable time and resources on winning and retaining customers.
While payments has traditionally been viewed as a cost center, the new way of looking at payments is as a competitive differentiator allowing you to offer better customer experiences and increase efficiency. A decade ago, the best thing a payments provider could be expected to do was not cause issues: no outages, routing errors, or false declines. Today, payments should be considered a strategic opportunity for innovation. Your payments infrastructure can help you quickly respond to changing customer preferences and market opportunities, and offload the complexity from your internal teams so you can save costs and reallocate valuable employee time to focus on your core business.
At Stripe, we’ve helped leading brands in every industry transform fundamental components of their business model to meet changing customer needs and market pressures. Not only have these companies unlocked new avenues for growth, but by streamlining their payments-related systems and processes, they’re able to focus on innovating in an increasingly competitive market.
In this guide, we will look at six ways in which enterprises are leveraging payments to reinvent the way they do business.
1. Going direct to consumers
A decade of ecommerce growth was compressed into months as consumers shifted the bulk of their spending online at the outset of the pandemic. The rise of ecommerce has impacted almost every industry, including manufacturers that have traditionally relied on a distribution or franchise model to get their products into the hands of consumers. These companies are building ecommerce experiences to form tighter relationships with their end customers, distributors, and partners.
The biggest gain for brands in adopting a direct-to-consumer model is having full visibility into their customers’ purchase behavior across channels. Knowing which SKUs are selling and how customers are paying for them enables companies to build better products and optimize their ecommerce flow to improve conversion. By digitizing the purchase experience, these companies can then continue to engage with end customers throughout their lifecycle, creating more touchpoints to extend the relationship and increase customer lifetime value and brand loyalty.
Because goods and services are delivered after the payment is submitted, best-in-class ecommerce experiences start with a frictionless checkout flow to avoid losing a potential customer forever. The right set of payment methods not only offers payment flexibility and convenience to maximize conversion, but also reduces fraud and increases transaction speed.
- Optimize conversions.
- Deliver seamless customer experiences.
- Build customer loyalty and increase lifetime value.
Ford chooses Stripe to power payments for an always-on relationship with customers
Henry Ford transformed industrial manufacturing over 100 years ago. Today, as his namesake company designs, manufactures, markets, and services a full line of connected, increasingly electrified vehicles, it also is evolving to focus on services and experiences delivered through software.
Ford is transforming from a traditional “build and sell” model to a new, always-on relationship with customers. Advancements in automotive technologies give Ford more options for improving the overall experience throughout the customer lifecycle, from how customers make an initial purchase to how they maximize their in-car experience. But enabling these new offerings, such as entertainment subscriptions or EV charging, requires Ford to create new ways for customers to purchase and pay for products and services.
Ford wanted a partner to help create an entirely new purchasing and ownership experience for customers. The reliability, intuitive design, and speed that Stripe offers gave Ford the confidence that Stripe, as its premier payments platform, would deliver the best experience for its customers.
We chose Stripe based on three criteria: reliability, making sure the system is always on; user experience, for fast, efficient checkouts; and time to market; so as we come up with cool new use cases like subscriptions and others, we can move really fast.”
Bodum expands globally by leveraging local payment methods with Stripe
Bodum is a kitchenware manufacturer producing high-quality coffee and tea makers and household accessories.
Bodum saw a boost in ecommerce sales due to COVID-19 as online ordering increased globally and more people were home with the desire to make their own high-quality coffee. However, Bodum recognized the checkout process was often frustrating for customers, especially if their preferred payment method wasn’t available.
With the majority of customers ordering from a mobile device, Bodum was looking to build a seamless online customer experience for both desktop and mobile.
Bodum localized its checkout experience with Stripe to scale its online business to 23 countries across Europe, America, Australia, and Asia. With Stripe Elements, Bodum can now turn on any new payment methods that become available, directly from the Dashboard with no additional engineering required.
“Mobile checkout is the future, but the distraction rate is very high. If a customer is buying something through a mobile site and they get another notification, the risk of losing that purchase is high,” says Peter Bodum, ecommerce manager. “Local payment methods are really important to help customers complete their purchase as quickly as possible.”
Partnering with Stripe improved Bodum’s conversion rates, minimized developer resources, and allowed flexibility and efficiency when launching into new markets.
As retail continues to shift online, you need to be able to react quickly. Stripe enables us to be much more flexible.”
2. Building a marketplace
More than 40% of all online spending globally is taking place on marketplaces. From auto to travel to retail, enterprises across industries are building multisided marketplaces to accelerate revenue growth and increase stickiness. These companies are finding an unmet need among their customer base and solving for that need by enabling them to buy additional products and services on their platform, thereby deepening the relationship with their customers.
The power of a marketplace is in its network effects. The more users participate in a marketplace, the more valuable it becomes. Because sellers are incentivized to spread the word about the marketplace, marketplaces have a built-in viral loop that generates free, organic traffic. Many marketplaces are built to solve a supply problem or to maximize the utility of certain items. For example, when unoccupied homes are turned into short-term rentals, their utility is maximized for both owners and guests. From peer-to-peer lending to on-demand delivery to coworking spaces, the marketplace boom has given rise to both the sharing economy and the gig economy.
What makes marketplaces particularly attractive as a business model is their stickiness. As a16z general partner Andrew Chen explains, “You want at least one side [of the marketplace] to be sticky. It’s not always the demand or supply side, but it must be one of them at any point. That way, you can always lower prices on the supply side, which will make it less sticky for them, but grow usage and frequency on the demand side.”
- Accelerate revenue growth.
- Increase customer retention and stickiness.
- Attract a new type of customer.
Toyota launches a platform to assist auto mechanics and promote sustainability
Founded in 1937, Toyota has weathered many changes in the auto industry. It saw an opportunity to create a platform that allows local repair shops to buy and sell specialized equipment from each other as well as consult with specialist service providers on the assessment and purchase of equipment.
The challenge for the automotive industry, and the many local mechanics that support it, is that it’s a lot more complicated to service a car than it used to be. The computerization of vehicles, along with the switch from internal combustion engines to hybrid or all-electric motors, has greatly expanded the range of repairs mechanics need to be able to perform. Many require specialized, expensive equipment, dramatically upping the capital costs of outfitting a shop.
In response to these challenges, Toyota decided to launch a platform called Mechacomi (the name blends “mechanics” and “communication”). It allows used equipment and tools to be traded among auto repair shops, reducing their costs and contributing to carbon neutrality.
But connecting buyers and sellers is not enough by itself to make the platform work. Sales of used equipment are high-value transactions that can result in complex processes, including escrow and seller deposits, which limit systemic risk at the cost of increased transactional complexity.
Toyota needed to figure out how to remove all this financial friction—and it decided to use Stripe because of its ability to support a platform business requiring many-to-many sales and money flow management.
With Stripe, Toyota was able to quickly set up the necessary escrow services and seller deposits. Toyota has also been able to easily develop bank transfer and credit card payment options to support the buying and selling preferences of its different user segments. Stripe assists Toyota in improving customer satisfaction with a dedicated support manager who conducts regular analysis and issues resolution assistance.
Mechacomi is an important new initiative in Toyota’s transformation into a mobility company. We need to continuously improve in order to eliminate customer dissatisfaction and ensure that our customers are satisfied with the service they receive. Stripe is a very reliable partner, because they provide a service that allows us to introduce various payment patterns easily and quickly, and because of their extensive support.”
Instacart speeds up grocery delivery with Stripe
Instacart delivers groceries from local stores directly to customers. The North American leader in online grocery has partnered with Stripe to create the best way for people across North America to shop for groceries.
Instacart facilitates a multisided grocery marketplace with complex payment needs. The money that is spent on Instacart goes to multiple stakeholders, and because of the complex backend, Instacart needs a simple payments user experience to serve a diverse group of retail partners, customers, and shoppers.
Instacart runs Stripe on AWS, which enables all aspects of Instacart’s intricate payments infrastructure to function at scale. Streamlined onboarding and sound payment flows mean that customers, shoppers, and retailers all benefit from a cohesive experience from the first point of contact. As the company’s sole payment processor, Stripe offers specific solutions that serve as competitive differentiators for Instacart, like the “Instant Cashout” feature, which allows shoppers to cash out their earnings instantly.
Stripe is building payments infrastructure for the internet, and Instacart is building grocery infrastructure for the world. There is a lot of overlap in our goals. Ultimately, both companies want to enable essential experiences and services in a connected world. For us, that means empowering retailers and brands, large and small. Stripe helps us serve our retail and brand partners, who have diverse needs, and ultimately power seamless experiences for end customers.”
3. Offering a subscription service
Over the past decade, subscription revenues have consistently grown nearly five times faster than the S&P 500. Many enterprises are expanding into subscriptions to generate recurring revenue and increase customer retention and loyalty. This trend is particularly prevalent in the media industry, with a wave of publications shifting from transactional print sales to digital-only or print-and-digital bundled subscriptions. From razor blades and cosmetics to car washes and haircuts, nearly any good or ongoing service can be sold as a subscription. During the current economic slowdown, businesses from airlines to convenience stores are launching membership programs to encourage repeat purchases and reward customer loyalty.
The economics of subscription businesses are much more attractive than a transactional model. Revenue from subscriptions is recurring, generating predictable cash flows. Subscriptions are also stickier, as they lock a user into a product or service for a length of time, and automatic renewals reduce churn.
An effective billing system should be designed for scale, helping a business expand into new markets and meet complex financial reporting and compliance needs. As the subscription business grows, the billing system will need to be flexible enough to allow for experimentation with new pricing models and support of a variety of payment methods.
- Grow recurring revenue (MRR, ARR).
- Increase customer retention.
- Reduce churn.
Le Monde chooses Stripe to improve local and international payments
Published since 1944, Le Monde is a daily newspaper based in France that has expanded over the years on digital platforms to reach international markets including the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and other French-speaking countries like Belgium and Luxembourg.
Despite being a global brand, Le Monde’s readership consisted primarily of people who speak French. With a goal of expanding internationally with digital content in English, Le Monde needed to offer adapted payment methods to attract and retain new subscribers, particularly in regions like the US and Africa. Le Monde also needed an improved payments experience that could efficiently handle PSD2 regulations.
Le Monde partnered with Stripe to provide a frictionless payments experience to subscribers around the world, with local payment methods that are recognized and trusted. Stripe’s robust API translates to an intuitive, fast checkout experience and reduced failed transactions. Le Monde also leverages Stripe Sigma in the Dashboard for real-time reports and Stripe Radar to manage fraud and minimize risk.
To reach our goal of one million subscribers by 2025, we need a payments partner that has ambition, accessibility, and global reach. With Stripe, we’re able to expand easily and quickly, simplifying subscriptions for us and our readers.”
ANA Group builds a next-generation mileage program
All Nippon Airways (ANA), one of Japan’s preeminent airlines, wanted to build a new mileage program based on insights learned during the travel disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mileage programs are an important financial hedge for airlines. They help offset the cyclicality of business travel by subsidizing leisure travel, which is generally more consistent. Mileage programs also help enhance the loyalty of an airline’s best customers. The pandemic made the need for this type of stability even more acute by greatly depressing demand for air travel within Japan and globally.
ANA was heavily affected by the pandemic and quickly made changes to their loyalty offerings in response. In particular, they wanted to enrich their customers’ daily lives and engage with them beyond the activities of flying and traveling. To do that, they decided to create ANA Pocket, a mobile-based membership experience that allows users to earn points and miles based on the distance of their daily movement through activities like walking and cycling as well as taking cabs or trains, which they can redeem for ANA flights and travel products.
ANA Group knew that they wanted to create a premium offering for members and needed a payments platform that could support it. With that in mind, they chose Stripe Billing, which makes it easy to implement and manage subscription payments.
ANA Group built momentum for the subscription service through first-month-free promotions as well as outreach across a variety of marketing channels. Using the Stripe Dashboard, ANA Group was able to quickly build an operational flow that could respond to billing errors and enhance fraud prevention. This, in turn, allowed them to provide loyal customers with the seamless experience those customers expected.
4. Streamlining financial operations
Some businesses built their own homegrown solutions or invested in multiple third-party tools to process payments and manage revenue. As they grew, they realized that the heavy engineering work of stitching together disparate systems and ongoing maintenance costs were slowing them down, leading them to streamline processes like accounting, reconciliation, billing, invoicing, taxes, and reporting.
Disjointed internal systems can result in long settlement times and lead to a poor customer experience. Additionally, the ability to market to customers is hamstrung by the lack of reliable customer purchase data as a result of disparate data sources. A unified financial platform can provide full visibility into customer purchase behavior, reduce complexity, and make teams nimbler, resulting in improved workforce efficiency. This allows resources to be redeployed to core areas of the business.
During a time of economic uncertainty, the health of your business matters more than ever. The ability to move quickly and focus on revenue-driving business priorities rather than the undifferentiated, resource-intensive work of maintaining dozens of fragmented systems can mean the difference between growth and stagnation.
- Increase workforce efficiency.
- Improve data reliability.
- Reduce costs.
AJ Bell speeds up transactions with Stripe
A member of the FTSE 250 on the London Stock Exchange, AJ Bell’s investment platform gives financial advisors and direct retail investors access to an extensive range of shares, funds, bonds, and accounts, as well as their own investment products.
For over 25 years, AJ Bell has provided award-winning products and services to make investing easy and affordable. But with its previous payment provider, the company had to set up separate payment processing accounts and merchant arrangements that resulted in fragmented user experiences, especially for investors and advisors using mobile. AJ Bell set out to find a new provider that would enable the company to offer a better mobile experience for its customers, reduce settlement times, and automate payment reconciliation more effectively.
AJ Bell chose to leverage Stripe for its payments expertise and suite of APIs to deploy an enterprise-ready payments platform. Using Stripe, AJ Bell had the ability to settle funds automatically into different accounts, ultimately reducing friction for their mobile customers.
The integration took only a few weeks, after which AJ Bell’s 432,000 customers benefited from a faster, better mobile experience that allowed them to move money into their accounts in a matter of seconds. Additionally, its team had streamlined internal processes to make handoffs between the engineering and sales teams smoother than ever. Today, the company has managed over £68 billion in assets on their revamped platform with Stripe.
The Stripe APIs and developer tools are widely regarded as being the best in the industry. We benefited from the ability to rapidly enforce Strong Customer Authentication requirements and also integrate Apple Pay and Google Pay with just a few extra lines of code.”
Slack uses Stripe to automate its accounting and revenue operations
Slack is a messaging app for business that connects people to the information they need. By bringing people together to work as unified teams, Slack is transforming how organizations like Spotify, Target, and Verizon collaborate.
Slack has grown exponentially in the past few years, and it was not always easy to increase available resources right away. For example, its self-service work used to be incredibly manual. If a customer needed anything changed, like switching from a monthly to an annual plan or changing products, the accounting or customer experience team had to make the necessary changes on the backend.
Stripe increases Slack’s internal efficiency by letting customers easily switch between monthly and yearly plans, or payment methods such as credit cards, or invoices to be paid at a later date via customers’ procurement systems. Options like these used to bog the team down, requiring a lot of manual backend work to address. Now that it’s automated on Stripe, Slack’s finance and accounting teams have the hours to focus on more important projects. And, because Stripe allows many of the commonly requested changes to be effective immediately, it reduces back-and-forth communication between customers and the support team, improving overall customer satisfaction.
My team has to account for millions of transactions and Stripe is our essential source of truth that keeps everything glued together. Stripe keeps the trains moving behind the scenes, especially for our self-service model that operates at global scale.”
5. Expanding globally
There are many reasons to expand globally: increasing your total addressable market by reaching new audiences, building your brand in more markets, and meeting existing customer demand in other countries. But international expansion requires navigating the complexity of launching local payment methods; localizing languages, currencies, dynamic fields, and error messages; and staying abreast of regulatory requirements in each country. In fact, in a study published by Stripe and B2B International, only 33% of businesses selling into the EU are confident that they comply with regulatory standards.
Local payment methods alone can make or break your ability to sell into a new market. According to Stripe data, cards only drive 40% of global ecommerce. But accepting additional payment methods can require months of legal, operations, and engineering work and create ongoing overhead.
Modern, unified financial infrastructure can simplify international expansion and enable companies to launch in new markets quickly by turning on local payment methods with little to no engineering investment. Furthermore, by consolidating your entire payments and financial stack, it reduces the need to rely on disparate systems, saving costs and dramatically increasing your speed to market. The best providers have the data to help you determine which payment methods would result in the greatest conversion uplift in each country and the expertise to ensure your business stays ahead of new tax and regulatory requirements.
- Expand total addressable market.
- Capture existing demand in other countries.
- Build brand presence in more markets.
Amazon simplifies cross-border payments with Stripe
Amazon, one of the most innovative companies in the world, is guided by four keys to success: customer obsession, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. With these principles in mind, Amazon set out to build a payments infrastructure that not only delivers an innovative and personalized checkout experience, but also a set of payments services that power Amazon’s portfolio of products and businesses around the world.
As Amazon expanded into new geographies, it sought to bring a new level of simplicity to international payments. Ben Volk, director of global payment acceptance and customer experience, explains, “We’ve really been on a pretty fun international expansion journey over the past six or seven years, thinking about innovations around how we get money to a seller that’s selling cross border, how do we make that currency conversion process trivially easy for them, and how do we make sure they get paid as expected and on time. There’s a lot of complexity in that.”
Amazon partnered with Stripe to streamline global payments experiences, particularly as the company looked to launch in new countries quickly. For example, when Amazon expanded into Poland, the team worked with Stripe to optimize the checkout experience with BLIK, a popular local payment method in the region. In 2023, Stripe became the strategic payments partner for Amazon in the US, Europe, and Canada, processing a significant portion of Amazon’s total payments volume.
Because Stripe natively supports over 40 payment methods and 135 currencies, Amazon has been able to unlock speed to market and collaborate with Stripe to ensure the payment experience for customers is seamless and tailored to their purchasing preferences.
One of the things we really valued about Stripe is it got us into a lot of different countries quickly and helped lower the barrier of entry for us.”
WooCommerce partners with Stripe to launch in 17 new countries in 3 months
WooCommerce is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms in the world, enabling WordPress businesses to sell and manage orders directly from their websites. In 2021, WooCommerce expanded its partnership with Stripe to give businesses more features—like subscriptions, in-person payments, and local payment methods—to help them grow.
In the past few years, consumer habits have changed and businesses of all sizes have had to double down on their ecommerce operations. WooCommerce wanted to help its merchants adapt quickly through its own integrated payments solutions. WooCommerce already had a longtime partnership with Stripe for core payment processing capabilities, but realized it could further leverage Stripe to empower its merchants to accept in-person payments, offer local payment methods, create recurring payments, facilitate subscriptions, deposit settled funds quickly, and access business financing.
WooCommerce set out to expand its platform offering to match the rapidly evolving needs of its merchants. To do this, it decided to launch a brand new platform, WooCommerce Payments, by integrating several different Stripe products—including Connect, Instant Payouts, Terminal, and Billing. WooCommerce Payments allows merchants to do everything from taking contactless payments and accessing funds in real time to tapping into business funding to keep operations afloat.
Building on Stripe, we started with payments, billing, and subscriptions. But we’re quickly adding Stripe Terminal for in-person payments, and planning to offer a full suite of fintech services to help our merchants grow their business, including access to capital and more—not only in the US, but also Europe and other regions where WooCommerce thrives. We chose Stripe as its extensive options across payments and financial services are what enable us to do this, and do it rapidly without compromise.”
6. Unifying online and offline channels
Increasingly, retailers that started as online-only operations are finding success in expanding into the physical world by opening in-person locations or pop-ups. With 80% of purchases still happening in person, this not only creates the potential for digital businesses to create a new revenue stream, but also underscores the need to build a seamless, personalized, and relevant buying experience across channels.
The challenge, however, is unifying data across online and in-person transactions. Customers expect to engage with businesses in the same way across channels in a way that is consistent and on-brand. For example, users may expect discount codes, loyalty rewards, and promotions to apply to both online and in-person purchases. Businesses often stitch together disparate systems and payment processors, which only adds to operational overhead by requiring time, money, and resources to manage and maintain.
To create a truly consistent experience across channels, businesses should look for a single platform that enables better customer insights and streamlined operations. This allows businesses to get a holistic view of all shopping activity in one place, so they can better understand customer behavior and improve customer service. For example, store associates could look up customers’ past purchases and make personalized recommendations or customers could buy an item online and pick it up at the store.
The best providers ultimately remove friction at checkout and accommodate exactly how customers prefer to shop—whether that’s with a specific payment method or through an in-store or online experience.
- Increase customer LTV
- Personalize the buyer journey
- Streamline operations
Stripe expands partnership with Wix to provide powerful omnichannel solutions for businesses
The Wix website builder offers a complete solution from enterprise-grade infrastructure and business features to advanced SEO and marketing tools–enabling anyone to create and grow online.
With more than 200 million users globally, Wix enables businesses, organizations, artists, and individuals to build and evolve their brands and businesses online. As economies around the world reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer expectations have shifted towards more flexible commerce. Many businesses that pivoted online during the crisis—including more than 31 million new users who joined Wix’s platform in 2020—are now grappling with hybrid operations as they look for ways to bring their services back to the offline world.
Stripe’s integrated product suite ensures platforms can provide a seamless experience for businesses and their customers. By layering Terminal, Stripe’s programmable point of sale, atop their existing integration with Stripe Connect, Wix can provide its users with everything they need to run and scale an omnichannel business. That includes website creation and management, logistics and operations, and payment processing for both online and in-person transactions, all with a 360° understanding of their business activity.
With Wix POS and Stripe’s underlying Terminal infrastructure, we can now help our users get a more holistic understanding of their business across different sales channels, including in-person sales, while managing all inventory, sales, and marketing from a single platform.”
Shopify uses Tap to Pay on iPhone for convenient in-person payments
Shopify is an all-in-one commerce platform to start, run, and grow a business of any size. It powers millions of businesses and helps some of the world’s biggest brands sell their products and process payments anywhere, in person and online. As the pandemic forced nearly every business to shift how it engaged with customers, merchants realized the importance of accepting contactless payments.
During the pandemic, customers grew accustomed to fast, seamless online buying experiences. Customers maintained those expectations for convenience, speed, and simplicity as businesses returned to in-person sales, challenging merchants to rethink their checkout experiences. However, for many retail merchants, adding modern payments hardware was a complex, maintenance-heavy option. And ecommerce merchants experimenting with in-person sales were forced to rely on cash or disconnected peer-to-peer payments that complicated revenue management across in-person and online sales. For both types of merchants, the customer experience was at risk.
Shopify had been using Stripe for years, so it naturally turned to Stripe again to give its merchants an even easier way to accept in-person payments anywhere using Tap to Pay on iPhone.
“Adding Tap to Pay on iPhone gives all merchants another way to get creative and seize new sales opportunities,” explained Lefaive. “Our retail merchants can instantly create additional mobile checkouts, hold a sidewalk sale, accept payments curbside, or sell at a local event. Our ecommerce merchants can take payments at their workspace, offer cash-on-delivery options for local customers, or pop-up at markets and fairs. We’re excited to see how merchants will innovate with Tap to Pay on iPhone.”
Tap to Pay on iPhone and the Stripe Terminal SDK let Shopify merchants accept all types of in-person, contactless payments with only an iPhone. It’s an easy, secure, and private way to accept in-person payments seamlessly, no matter where they do business, and it unifies payments on Shopify to ease revenue management—all without additional hardware.
What’s most exciting about it is the accessibility of Tap to Pay on iPhone. Whether it’s the cost of payments hardware or the urgency to take advantage of an in-the-moment opportunity, Tap to Pay on iPhone with Shopify POS eliminates those barriers to making sales—it’s a card reader you can always have with you.”
At Stripe, we’ve seen businesses across all industries adapt to changing customer preferences and market opportunities, rewriting the script for how they engage with customers, suppliers, distributors, and other partners. While it’s always important to optimize authorization rates and costs, businesses with a narrow focus on optimization may miss the bigger opportunity to reinvent the way they do business and deepen their relationship with their customers—ultimately winning market share and expanding their total addressable market. To embark on this journey, a reassessment of your business model and supporting infrastructure is required, and that’s where Stripe can help.