Williams-Sonoma will start accepting PayPal and Venmo as payment options on its website next year, making the retailer among the first merchants to allow customers to pay for purchases via their Venmo accounts, Venmo has confirmed to Retail Dive.
Venmo COO Mike Vaughan, speaking at the Code Commerce event in New York City, talked generally about how Williams-Sonoma and other e-commerce merchants could accept Venmo payments, with Venmo charging a processing fee, according to a recode report.
PayPal, which owns Venmo, has been working on enabling Venmo payments to more merchants for some time, testing such a capability last year. It has been used in mostly non-retail mobile commerce applications in recent years.
Any move toward enabling more merchants to accept Venmo, which has built a huge user base as a person-to-person payments platform, is a big deal, though curiously PayPal and Venmo didn’t make much noise about this one. No press release was issued, and it appears that the Williams-Sonoma news mostly came to light last week during the Code Commerce event.
In confirming the relationship to Retail Dive, Venmo spokespeople added, "We are experiencing strong interest from merchants who want access to Venmo’s highly engaged user base. We’re seeing in some instances that the appeal of Venmo has prompted some of the largest and most influential U.S. merchants to expand existing — or begin new — processing relationships with PayPal. We are very excited about the potential here and think it represents a meaningful opportunity for us over the longer-term."
At the same time, Venmo has reportedly been mulling the introduction of a physical debit card to expand its presence in brick-and-mortar point-of-sale. The upstart payments brand appears to be making its long-awaited move beyond P2P payments.
As for PayPal, the company can most likely do just fine on its own, but hitching its wagon to Venmo is starting to sound like a pretty good idea as the payments company looks to expand as far and wide as it can in a crowded payments space. Venmo processed more than $17 billion in P2P payments last year, and 68% of people in their 20s and 30s who use payment apps use Venmo. It represents a massive hive of active commerce that retailers could easily get a piece of if they allowed Venmo users to use the payment app they like best when they reach the mobile/online checkout page.
At least that's the assumption — and maybe that's why Venmo seems to be moving somewhat quietly and modestly into the merchant marketplace. It might take some hard results before retailers are willing to believe that Venmo can bring them more traffic and more millennial purchases. Thus far, the Williams-Sonoma deal is one of very few that the company has acknowledged, but if this one shows positive results, we might start to hear a lot more about e-commerce merchants accepting Venmo in 2018.