Pay with Amazon in the Wild: The Clymb

I've been very interested in online payment systems as of late–with the Braintree acquisition by PayPal, international expansion by Stripe, and the launch of Cash by Square, the space is definitely heating up.

In particular, Amazon's new(ish?) Login and Pay with Amazon product seems to provide merchants with some great benefits: a simplified checkout process that leverages a user's existing Amazon account information, mobile-optimized flows, and access to Amazon's fraud prevention. However, merchants who adopt Pay with Amazon are implicitly letting their customers become Amazon's customers, in effect helping to further support the stratospheric growth of ecommerce's Goliath.

I recently came across a company using the Login and Pay feature (The Clymb), and wanted to take a closer look at the mechanics of the integration. Side-note: If you aren't familiar with The Clymb you should really check them out–they are doing awesome stuff with outdoor gear/apparel.

To start, I selected some shoes, added them to my cart and headed to the checkout page. Keep in mind that The Clymb requires users to be logged in to view sales, so I already have a Clymb account.

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Since I've never made a purchase before, I'm greeted with a wall of inputs–billing address, shipping address, and payment information. Beneath all that is an expandable option for "Checkout with Amazon".

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Clicking the "Pay with Amazon" button brings up a pop-up to sign-in to my Amazon account.

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After signing in, I'm greeted with a much friendlier checkout page:

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All of my addresses and payment methods are preselected for me to review. All I need to do is confirm and then place my order.

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It's a really fantastic process, and I'd imagine it would work great on both smartphones and tablets. Again, this is my first purchase on The Clymb and the process couldn't have been easier.

However, I think the most telling part of the checkout process is the email confirmation.

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This is a standard Amazon email receipt–no mention of The Clymb or the fact that I purchased from a 3rd party (other than the fact that it came from Amazon Payments). If nothing else, this reinforces that although merchants are getting great benefits from using Amazon for payments, the customer's ties to Amazon are further strengthened. If I want to return my shoes, I might even go to Amazon first because that's where the email receipt came from.

Like all online merchants that choose to do business with Amazon soon realize, the company makes for a strange bedfellow. I think The Clymb strikes a good balance here–not overly focusing on the Amazon option, but providing it for customers a secondary option. It would be great to see some internal numbers on how this impacts cart abandonments, repeat purchases, etc.

Overall, I can see some strong benefits for online retailers. As a consumer, I hope to see more options to checkout with Amazon in the future–as far as I'm concerned, the fewer companies that need to safeguard my payment information, the better. As an observer of online retail, I hope that businesses are able to intelligently use this service to complement their existing checkout flows–improve their conversion metrics, while at the same time making sure they cement me as their customer and not just another of Amazon's 200 million strong flock (…of which I am a happy member)

Update:

I just received an email confirmation from The Clymb–looks like they're doing their part :)

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