Warby Parker and Saks Fifth Avenue’s Mobile Commerce Just Got More Interesting

Relay should give them greater app reach

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Digital payments company Stripe revealed a mobile commerce system today called Relay, which lets retailers offer products across multiple smartphone apps in an unusually easy fashion. 

Launch partners from the merchant side include Warby Parker, Saks Fifth Avenue and Wish, and they'll be able to pitch and sell items via apps that are also on board with Relay—those currently include Twitter, ShopStyle and Spring. In other words, the retailers will not have to add their e-commerce presence in the apps one by one: It's a one-size-fits-all concept. 

Additionally, Stripe has struck a deal with business-to-business software giant SAP to bring the service to potentially hundreds of its retail clients. It's also partnering with InMobi, an ad network with more than 30,000 mobile apps, to help brands incorporate buy buttons in their pitches on third-party apps.

The main idea is to shorten paths to purchase for consumers, which, of course, is every retailer's goal. Relay, in theory, can help a marketer attract mobile consumers as they discover the brand's products via in-app ads or organic discovery. 

In the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see if other merchants and media companies also sign on to use Relay. 

Stripe generally competes with PayPal and Square in the payment-systems space. This move probably represents Stripe's most interesting play in terms of expanding outside the payments realm. 

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.