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Punchbowl Case Study | Braintree Payments


Punchbowl logo, the gold standard in online invitations and digital greeting cards, needed a new payment partner that could handle their increasing complexity and growth.


Punchbowl makes it easy to create and send beautiful, free online invitations and digital greeting cards from your phone, tablet or desktop. While Punchbowl is free to use, the site offers paid memberships that users can purchase to unlock exclusive features and designs. Users can purchase monthly or annual memberships.


In 2007, Punchbowl launched as an online invitations website and then, as they grew, introduced new products such as digital greeting cards and different membership plans. New products and pricing structures were continually introduced and tested to help determine the best way to evolve the company. Loyalty programs, special promotions and new revenue streams such as electronic gift cards added complexity to their evolving business model.

Punchbowl determined that they needed an alternative to their current payment processor to support their evolving business model and to provide a higher level of customer service than they currently received. Introducing membership plans required the flexibility to easily change plans while providing a seamless experience to the end user.

A solution that was easy to integrate was essential because development resources were focused on building the next generation of product offerings.


Punchbowl turned to Braintree's payment gateway to address their needs.

Because the ability to test different products, ideas, and pricing was critical, Braintree's payment gateway, with a fully-integrated recurring billing solution, was a perfect fit.

The flexible recurring billing plan allows Punchbowl to create promotional periods or test out loyalty programs customized to the time period they select. The solution also allows Punchbowl customers to upgrade or downgrade their membership plan anytime during their billing cycle, and automatically pro-rates the charges without additional backend effort.


Braintree's technology helps Punchbowl fine tune their offerings, empowering them to expand and flourish. Punchbowl uses Braintree's data to run pricing experiments and ultimately improve their retention rates. Their ability to consistently develop new products and create customer loyalty programs advances their website and keeps their customers engaged.

Punchbowl was able to easily integrate with Braintree using the Ruby-on-Rails client library in a matter of weeks. “Braintree is a payment gateway built for developers,” said Blake Carlson, CTO. “We found Braintree's payment gateway and recurring billing solution to be more nimble and startup-friendly than any other solution available. Braintree's customer support team was highly responsive in helping us complete the integration quickly and painlessly.”

Punchbowl has also leveraged the Vault feature to enable instant checkout for repeat customers. Using the Vault, Punchbowl returning customers can complete their purchase and avoid entering the same billing details in future purchases, resulting in a much faster checkout process.

The company says this instant checkout has significantly increased Punchbowl's sales conversions for gift cards and other upsells.

"As Punchbowl has expanded the number and type of products we offer, it is a benefit to our customers and us to store credit card information in Braintree's Vault. We believe it can only increase sales conversions."

Blake Carlson

CTO at Punchbowl

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