PayPal launches a small biz toolset, ‘Business in a Box,’ with WooCommerce & Xero

PayPal today launched a new service, called Business in Box, aimed at bringing more U.S. small business owners to its payments platform. The service, which was developed in partnership with WooCommerce and Xero, offers merchants a suite of tools for running their online businesses, including an online storefront, accounting tools, the ability to apply for working capital from PayPal and, of course, support for taking payments either online or offline, via PayPal.

Business in a Box is largely aimed at first-time business owners who already know what they want to sell and have a roadmap in mind, as well as at established offline businesses that want to make the move online.

Often, these business owners would otherwise turn to an e-commerce platform, like Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce or WooCommerce, to establish their online presence and take advantage of other add-ons that can help them with other aspects of their business, like running promotions, marketing, order management, shipping, social media and more.

PayPal is already working with these sorts of e-commerce platforms, as adding a PayPal button to online shops is something many business owners want to do. But by establishing an official partnership with one of the players in the space, WooCommerce, PayPal gets more skin in the game. This will allow the company to also better promote its other offerings, like its lending service, PayPal Working Capital.

The company also noted today that PayPal Working Capital has now helped more than 115,000 businesses worldwide access more than $3 billion in loans and cash advances since the service launched in 2013.

Business in a Box, however, is more of a smartly packaged set of solutions for businesses under the PayPal branding rather than something entirely new. Business owners who sign up for the service will receive discounts from PayPal’s partners as part of signing up. For example, WooCommerce is giving away an additional three months with a one-year Pressable subscription, and offering its plugin for free, while Xero is giving away a 30-day trial, one-hour consultation with a Xero advisor and crediting users’ accounts with $100.

If these sound like fairly standard promotions aimed at acquiring new customers, that’s because they are. Business in a Box isn’t really about the savings element, but rather the integration with PayPal. All the partner solutions are integrated with customers’ PayPal Business accounts, so everything works together. For newcomers to online businesses, there’s also the comfort in knowing that these are PayPal-supported and recommended solutions.

While business customers can pick and choose which solutions they want to use, the advantage in using those from the suggested partners is that they’ll then be able to track all their sales, expenses and invoices in place to see a real-time view of their finances.

More broadly, the new offering is meant to help merchants see PayPal as more than just a payments provider, but rather a company that can help them acquire customers, manage their cash flow and grow their business — including taking on new financing, if needed.

The move comes after a solid Q1 for PayPal, which ended the quarter with 203 million active customer accounts, 16 million of which were merchants.