What are payment links & how do they drive ecommerce growth?

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January 20, 2023
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What are payment links & how do they drive ecommerce growth?

In the battle for retail supremacy, payment links provide merchants with the secret weapon they needed to steal a march on the competition. Payment links provide customers with an easy way to pay and businesses with an easy way to accept payment. But, to use payment links successfully, there are a few things that businesses should keep in mind. Read on to discover what these are.

What is a payment link?

A payment link, also known as 'pay by link', does what it says on the tin: it allows customers to click a link — received through any digital channel — that takes them to a checkout page where they can complete a purchase.

Payment links often appear in the form of a QR code, a buy button on a web page or a digital link. They are used in social media, on webpages, in apps and in messaging tools. Each good or service that you are selling can have its own unique link. Additionally, a payment link can either facilitate one transaction for a specific customer - in the same way as an invoice - or it can be used for an unlimited number of customers.

Find out more about our payment processing solutions and see examples of how we are already helping other merchants succeed by exploring our case studies section.

How to use payment links to drive ecommerce growth

There's immense power in the simplicity of payment links. The solution can transform where and how merchants engage with customers by turning almost any channel imaginable into a sale opportunity, allowing them to buy the moment they've made their decision.

Let’s explore a handful of the powerful use cases for payment links that can allow retailers to reduce customer friction and make more sales.

Power social media commerce

Social media networks are fast becoming social shopping networks. That's as more and more consumers make purchases directly from advertisements they see when browsing through their preferred social media applications.

The explosive growth of social commerce is quite phenomenal. It's expected that worldwide social commerce sales will hit almost $2 trillion by 2026, mainly driven from markets across Asia like China and Vietnam. Although consumer demand is growing in Europe: our research finds that 63% of consumers hope to shop more frequently directly within social media apps in 2023.

Payment links are how merchants can effectively meet this customer demand. By embedding a payment link in the adverts they run on social media channels, customers can simply click on the advert and be presented with a checkout page to complete the purchase. This all happens seamlessly and without the consumer ever leaving their social app, creating a completely frictionless end-to-end experience.

Recapture cart abandonments

A staggering 88% of shoppers fail to go through with their purchases. This hits merchants twice: once in the immediate lost revenue, and again in the acquisition costs that have already been sunk.

To combat cart abandonment, many retailers use retargeting tactics to bring potential customers back to complete the purchase. Some take the direct approach, sending emails or SMS messages reminding customers they've left items in their cart. Others take a more subtle approach using advertising on the web and social media to grab their attention.

Whatever approach is taken, the most effective way to ensure that potential customer completes the purchase is to send them a payment link that takes them directly to the checkout page. Ask them to do anything else and merchants may find they'll be needing to retarget that potential customer again.

Streamline over-the-phone transactions

There may be instances when a customer sees what they want online but wants to speak to somebody before completing a purchase. This is especially true for high-value purchases.

Telemarketing may not receive the cool headlines, but the sector is enormous. In the U.S alone, revenues are around $19.5bn per year. But that is at risk from fraudsters who are increasingly targeting people via the phone.

Shoppers today are more cautious before trusting the person on the other end of the phone, especially with large purchases. Some of that suspicion can be lifted by moving the sale online, with the use of a payment link.

As well as not having to reveal their card details to a stranger, customers may feel more trusting of a brand that does not hurry them into a purchase. And they also get more choice about how to pay (as long as the payment page has these methods switched on), eliminating another potential blocker. Merchants also benefit from relieving themselves of certain compliance obligations with processing card transactions, as this is done by their payment partner.


A lot of businesses that operate online now have chatbots that they use as part of their customer service strategy. While a customer is interacting with a chatbot, a payment link can be used to create a pathway for the customer towards a product or service. Customers can be directed to the items that are looking for, cross-sell items and other items that are in-stock if this is what they were looking for. All of this can be done directly from the chat.

Speed up invoice payments

In certain European countries, such as Germany, a large percentage of ecommerce is still invoice-driven. The risk for merchants is that customer convenience becomes costly if invoice due dates are missed. It is easily done — invoices or payment reminders are just instructions that can be easily set aside for later.

Embedding a payment link turns them into payment mechanisms that can be acted on in the moment. And they can also give the customer a greater selection of payment methods to use — and incentives for choosing more profitable ones — further motivating them to settle up straight away.

Utilize the power of payment links with Checkout.com

Behind the simplicity of payment links sits some sophisticated technology, not least the payment reconciliation measures. There is little point in having access to payment links if those payments fail, or if you can’t scale their use into new markets because the most popular schemes are beyond your reach. So payment links should not be viewed as a panacea, but as another weapon in an end-to-end payment operation.

Some merchants are also using payment links as a driver of demand. As a payment link can be configured to be used by a limited number of shoppers and/or for a limited period of time it can allow merchants to run limited-time or exclusive campaigns creating excitement and urgency in the market.

As an end-to-end payment solution provider, Checkout.com is able to easily generate payment links for merchants. These can then be easily managed through a unified API.

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