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Pay by Link: Your short-cut to contextual commerce

Discover how Pay by Link can help you support contextual commerce without the big budget and hours of development work

Tim van de Langkruis  ·  Product Manager, Adyen
January 24, 2019
 ·  5 minutes
Pay by Link: Your short-cut to contextual commerce

Shopping is so easy these days. Only yesterday, an idle scroll down my Instagram feed led to a new pair of headphones.

For businesses today, the speed and ease with which a customer can buy from you is the stuff of dreams. No longer do you need to pull them from an ad, to your site, and through your payment flow. Shoppers can buy the moment they see something they like, in a few clicks.

Contextual commercehas been around for a while and ourlatest retail reportfound that consumers are increasingly open to it. 25% of respondents said they own a smart speaker and 51% said that digital technology is essential to their daily lifestyle. But we also found that businesses are failing to meet these expectations. 55% of shoppers have seen items they’d like to buy on social media but have abandoned the purchase because there were too many steps involved.

So, we know that customers increasingly expect to be able to buy the moment they've made the decision, without clunky redirects and long payment forms. And contextual commerce is an ideal solution. But, what if you have limited technical resources and minimal budget? How can you get in on the action?

Enter Pay by Link.

Pay by Link is exactly what it sounds like: A link that takes shoppers to a payment page where they enter their details and pay. It’s incredibly simple and unlocks contextual commerce with very little development or integration work needed.

Example of a pay by link payment page

Example of a pay by link payment page

Pay by Link in action

Pay by Link is commonly used in call centers as a way of securely capturing customers' payment details. The telesales associate emails a link to the customer for them to complete the purchase. This removes the need to read card details over the phone, which is a payments security minefield. Pay by Link is also popular amongst luxury retailers. It's a great way of selling limited-edition or bespoke items to VIPs via a private payment page.

Pay by Link also has other use-cases ideally suited to contextual commerce:


Whether you’re selling custom t-shirts or a luxury holiday, chatbots are a useful way of walking your customer through an order without relying on telesales teams. When it comes to the moment of purchase, the chatbot shares a link that directs the customer from the chat thread straight to a payment page.

KLM has been using a redirect payment link for years - ever since that Icelandic volcano erupted in 2010 grounding all flights. The airline had to set up a quick way for huge volumes of customers to re-book flights. So it made Twitter its front-line support from where agents would deal with queries, re-book flights, and process additional purchases via payment links. Today, the airline uses payment links to process upgrades and extras like additional luggage via chatbots.

Example of pay by link in a chatbot scenario

Pay by link via a chatbot

Voice recognition

Imagine you’re standing in the kitchen ordering groceries via Alexa. When you’re ready to pay, Alexa sends a link to your phone. A few taps later, payment is complete and groceries are on their way.


Pay by Link can also be used to upsell additional products outside of the typical sales environment (such as a store or ecommerce site). A large Dutch electronics retailer uses this method to upsell additional items such as speakers at the point of delivery. The delivery team simply generates a QR code that links to a payment page. So customers can complete the payment on their smartphone while their new entertainment center is being installed. It’s quick, easy and (importantly) totally secure.

Cross-channel customer reactivation

Did an online customer abandon a purchase halfway through? Perhaps they got distracted or didn’t have their card details to hand. In this case, you can reactivate them by sending them an email with a payment link to complete their order. Or maybe an in-store shopper was disappointed to discover you didn’t have their size in stock. Once the item is back in stock you can send them an email with a payment link so they can complete the purchase online and either collect in-store or have it delivered to their home.

Charity donations

Another great use-case for Pay by Link is charity donations. A single donation link can be generated and sent out to a mailing list. Or it could be accessed via a QR code on an outdoor billboard. It could even be sent to nearby mobile devices using NFC beacons - so (for example) people in a shopping center could be pinged a payment link as they walk past a campaign billboard.

Pay by Link with Adyen

Setting up Pay by Link with Adyen is easy. You just need to create a payment page from the Adyen Dashboard using drag-and-drop elements and uploading your branded assets. You can then either set up links manually to create one-off payment pages. Or you can create links automatically where your system pings our Checkout API with payment details such as country, currency, amount, and link expiration date. A link is then generated and embedded in whichever communication channel you choose. You can learn more inour documentation.

And, since this is Adyen, you’ll get access to all payment methods based on your shopper’s location. So, if you’re chatbot is talking to someone in Germany,Sofortand Giropay will automatically be displayed as payment options. 3D Secure 2.0 is taken care of, so shoppers will be dynamically routed via 3D Secure if necessary (and only then). This ensures the best possible payment experience for your customers and a liability-shift for you.

Take contextual commerce up a notch

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to contextual commerce. Once you’re ready to dive in, we can support you by embedding payment forms into your chat flow, so customers aren’t redirected at all. You can streamline the process still further withtokenization, which can be triggered with a single tap, a voice command, or a smile…

Learn more about Pay by Link

If you want to get started with contextual commerce, or any other Pay by Link scenario, click below:

Go to Pay by Link page

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