Have you ever envisioned a world where payments could be as frictionless as possible just by going to where the buyer is? Ribbon says it’s thought about this and today, it is launching to the public, taking on PayPal and moving forward with its mission to make it easy to buy and sell items, no matter what platform you’re on.
Started when a friend of one of the founders wanted to sell a design online. She complained about how PayPal’s buy button was too rigid and soon, an idea to build a better mousetrap was born. The concept was this: find a way to have a better e-commerce experience.
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But why take on PayPal? Ribbon claims that it’s because the funnel to get from interested buyer to confirmed buyer is too inefficient. People either forget that they have an account or that the process is just too long. The company tells us that 95% of customers abandon at the checkout page and this is something that needs to be remedied.
In its crudest form, you could probably think about Ribbon as Bitly meets payments. Ribbon is a service that will enable you to sell digital and physical items, and services across different platforms and networks like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube. All you need to do is copy and paste a web link it gives you and anyone can make purchases. Starting today, Twitter and Facebook are the only platforms supported.
Hany Rashwan, one of the co-founders, explains how it works: sellers add a product and get a unique short URL. Then, they copy/paste it into different networks (or it can be done automatically through the company’s app). Based on where the buyer’s click happened (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.), they will see a “slightly different page”. It’s the same link, but tailored for that environment.
What makes Ribbon interesting is the fact that the service isn’t using PayPal or Stripe to handle its transactions. Instead, it built its own infrastructure. It seems a bit excessive — why recreate the wheel? Well it did and Rashwan explains that it will help integrate with different services while also facilitating one-click checkout. And if someone makes a purchase through the system, that payment information is captured so it can be used for all other sellers, giving the buyer the added convenience of not needing to re-enter his or her information a billion times.
For potential retailers and e-commerce sites interested, Ribbon has a button that can be added to their websites so that any transaction can happen right within your site and all traffic stays in your domain.
The company says that it has deals with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Card lined up where it will pay the interchange fees directly to the card companies plus basis points. It can also send sellers payment in the form of checks, wire transfers, ACH transfers, and even PayPal (ironic, no?). It is charging 5% plus 30 cents per transaction to each of its customers, this is much less than compared to the 10% for Etsy and 30% for eBay.
For the past month, the company had been in private alpha and started with 250 users. With invitations being the only way to use the service at that time, the user base quickly skyrocketed and now there are 3,000 users and Ribbon has helped to sell thousands of items across the physical, digital, and service space.
Photo credit: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images