How it started
When I first started thinking about preorders and partial payments I was working at Shopify on the subscriptions platform at the beginning of 2019. Back then, we were realizing how many of the core concepts within Shopify had to change to support recurring billing and in the future, deferred and partial payments. After a solid year of hustle and the successful launch of the subscriptions platform, myself and a group of my peers prototyped what partial payments could look like on Shopify and how we could extend the subscriptions APIs to support this selling strategy. That year we ended up forming a new team around selling strategies and starting to build partial payments from the ground up. I had been talking to so many merchants during that time who all struggled with the supply chain issues that it felt like we couldn’t build this fast enough. They had frequent order cancellations and support calls and couldn’t find a partial payments app that didn’t create duplicate orders or products.
One particular challenge faced by merchants was selling high-value products, such as custom-made furniture. They had no option but to ask for full payment upfront, despite potential shipping delays that could extend for months. Similarly, merchants offering preorders struggled to gauge demand and secure sales for products that didn’t yet exist. Customers were hesitant to pay in full for a product that had yet to materialize and would often cancel their orders if the wait became too long.
How it’s going
Fast forward to 2022 and a Canada Day BBQ where I ended up roping in Denis, an ecommerce wizard, former Shopifier and friend, to build a partial payments app with me. Denis had been in the ecomm space for over 10 years and had originally built the first app to handle the 100 variant limit, so he was excited to develop apps for the Shopify platform again. With the launch of the partial payment APIs, we hustled to build an end to end partial payment experience that turned into our first app, Downpay. The response thus far has been overwhelmingly positive. During our beta we landed over 50 installs and processed over $200k for merchants worldwide. We wanted to make sure we based Downpay on customer feedback and I scoured Shopify Community to figure out exactly what merchants needed.
The critical pieces were simplicity and security. We securely store the customer’s payment method with Shopify which ensures the remainder can be charged seamlessly when the product is ready to ship. By making the upfront cost more manageable, customers commit to their purchase earlier while awaiting their product. This method also ensures you’re not asking customers to go through your checkout a section time and impacting your conversion.
Looking ahead, we have a clear vision for Downpay. Our aim is to become the best-in-class app for merchants looking to run partial payments on their products. Our upcoming API and app integrations will enhance partial payments for larger and more complex businesses. By entering this market, we intend to empower merchants to offer partial payments at scale, thereby enhancing flexibility and convenience for both merchants and customers. Denis and I are just getting started. We’re driven by our firsthand experiences at Shopify and our dedication to solving merchants’ pain points. With Downpay’s success and our ambitious plans for the future, Hypehound is poised to make a lasting impact on the Shopify ecosystem by developing high quality, easy to use and secure apps.
Diana BirsanCo-founder, Hypehound
Helping online brands sell more to their biggest fans.