With the explosion of e-commerce over the past decade, consumers have developed both confidence and adeptness when it comes to shopping online. But even with the right products and promotions, the conversion process often stalls at checkout.
Retail tech company Bolt is attempting to perfect the payment process and allow brands and retailers to compete with the e-commerce universe’s dominant force: Amazon.
Bolt announced last week that it has raised $68 million in Series B funding to support that vision. The recent round brings total funds to $90 million, bolstered primarily by Activant Capital and Tribe Capital, along with investments from Allbirds, Revolve, Jet.com, and Bombas.
The San Francisco-based startup launched in January of 2018 and has since processed $1 billion in payments through more than 1.5 million transactions. Bolt’s team has since grown from 10 employees to more than 125, according to a blog post written by Bolt’s CEO, Ryan Breslow. The latest influx of capital will go toward scaling the company’s engineering team, investing in enterprise functionality for the platform’s larger retailers, partnering with other e-commerce tools (like shopping carts and payment platforms), and building out more advanced features and functionality on a global scale.
The platform brings a holistic approach to the checkout process, combining tools for payment and fraud detection into a single-step solution. Breslow said until now, retailers have been forced to “patch together” checkout solutions using a number of different tools and platforms, creating a “complex tech stack” that requires “significant upkeep and operational overhead.” Bolt will help reduce the need for constant oversight and troubleshooting, while creating a more seamless experience for consumers, Breslow said.
The checkout process includes fewer fields to fill out, and repeat customers are able to buy with just one click. The platform also integrates with other shopping cart software like Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce, and the company is in the midst of establishing integration with PayPal.
“Amazon dominates online retail in the US, representing over half of the market share due to its ultra convenient and streamlined buying experience. However, the rest of the retail space lags far behind in their buying experience, and is at a significant disadvantage,” Breslow said. “Bolt hopes to level the playing field by giving everyone who’s not Amazon that same level of sophistication without any technical resources needed on their end.”
Popular online fashion sites like Revolve are hoping to see improvements in conversion and customer satisfaction.
“After working in retail for a decade, I’ve seen first hand the challenges associated with online shopping, both on the back end and when it comes to the shopper experience,” said Jonathan Tam, Revolve’s director of operations. “Bolt is tackling all this and more, which is why I’m excited for the company and its mission.”