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Friday, April 8, 2016

Amazon unveils elite e-commerce program

Seattle-based Amazon Payments Inc., a subsidiary of Amazon.com Inc., launched the Amazon Payments Partner Program April 4, 2016. The invitation-only initiative is designed to scale the company's online payment platform through selective integrations with leading e-commerce providers. Select partners will receive tools, services and personalized support to assist with integrating their payment gateways and shopping carts with Amazon Payments.

Additional personalized attention, including pre-integration support and best practices, will ensure a mutually profitable experience for Amazon and its partners, the company stated. Eligible merchants in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and Japan will receive exclusive benefits and access to the company's knowledge base at no additional charge.

"The Amazon Payments Partner Program provides Partners with the tools and resources needed to extend the trust and convenience of the Amazon experience to their merchant customers," said Patrick Gauthier, Vice President at Amazon Payments. "We are working together across geographies and industries to help merchants grow and create experiences that delight customers throughout the shopping journey."

Three-tiered partnership services

Amazon Payment Partners will be listed in a company directory and receive various levels of co-marketing support to promote Amazon account credentials to their customers as an optional payment method.

Following are the three levels of partnership:

  • Premier Partner: As the most elite program participants, premier partners have dedicated account managers, instructor-led technical training, unlimited access to partner events and first available access to the platform's new feature sets.

  • Certified Partner: Certified partners receive email support, allocated invitations to partner events and an array of support materials, and access to the platform's new features when available.

  • Certified Developer: E-commerce platform developers receive the same level of support as certified partners with support services designed to fast-track software certification and integration.

All Amazon Payments Partners receive continuous account management, planning support, technical resources and training, Partner directory listing and Partner designation with exclusive logos. Some members may also receive additional co-marketing support, according to the company.

Aggregate, mass market models

The company noted that the majority of online merchants who didn't receive a personal invitation from Amazon still have multiple options for incorporating Amazon into their payment mix. For example, Pay with Amazon enables consumers to use Amazon credentials to check out at select e-commerce sites. Third-party merchants who participate in the program can leverage Amazon's Big Data analytics to identify customers who are Amazon Prime members; these subscribers spend approximately three times as much as non-Prime members, according to a recent company study.

The Amazon Seller App, launched in 2014, helps mobile merchants who participate in the Amazon marketplace manage their businesses on Amazon Direct from connected devices. Amazon also launched North America Unified Accounts in the same year, a program designed to simplify international selling in North America. Participating merchants can sign up on Amazon.com or Amazon.ca to get access to U.S. and Canadian marketplaces and thus be able to manage offers in both markets.

Optimistic early adopters

Early Premier Payment Partners appear both supportive and optimistic about the Amazon Payments Partner Program. Future Shop Co., Ltd., a Japanese e-commerce provider with annual sales of 100 million yen, displays the Amazon Payments Premier Partner designation on the home page of its website, which the company has integrated into its FutureShop2 e-commerce platform.

"The convenience and trust that Amazon Payments provides customers already attracts lots of our merchants," said Yuko Hoshino, President of Future Shop Co., Ltd. "Together, we will support the growth of our merchant business and contribute to the revitalization of the ecommerce industry in Japan by combining the capabilities of FutureShop2 with the convenience of Amazon Payments."

E-commerce enterprise Shopify has a team of 500 employees in four offices in Canada. The company believes that retail will continue to change at a fundamental level as customers experience an expanding array of options for purchasing, pickup and delivery in the physical and virtual worlds. The company recently joined the Amazon Payments Partner Program, although the logo has not yet been posted to its website.

"Our merchants want to offer their customers a payment solution that is trusted, easy and familiar," said Brennan Loh, Director of Business Development at Shopify. "We're excited to be a Premier Partner in the Amazon Payments Partner Program, enabling our merchants to offer Pay with Amazon."

How Amazon's mass market programs and invitation-only global partner initiatives will affect payments industry gateways and e-commerce solution providers remains to be seen. end of article

Editor's Note:

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

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