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Sears’ Fount delivers shoppable social media with a universal cart

NEW YORK – Sears executives at the Mcommerce Summit: State of Mobile Commerce 2016 last week detailed how the company is using mobile innovation to break the boundaries of traditional retail with a standalone marketplace called Fount that acts as a shoppable Instagram for retailers.

During the session, Sears: Social Commerce and the Mobile Shopping Evolution, the executives provided a walkthrough of the department store’s new platform, derived under the rewards program Shop Your Way umbrella. The program, which has 64 retailers signed on, is meant to provide an easier method for consumers to shop products directly while browsing visual content, a reaction to the lack of links and purchasing capabilities on social media platforms such as Instagram.

“What Fount allows brands to do that a lot of social media do not today, is that you spend a lot of money and time when you put these put these posts onto Instagram and Pinterest, but how do you know that you are going to get a return,” said Pialy Aditya, vice president of strategy and business development at Sears. “Here, because every image is shoppable, the brands and the bloggers know not only how many likes they have, they know how many shares and how many people have actually put it into a cart.

“That is information that you cannot get through any social platforms today,” she said.

The Mcommerce Summit: State of Mobile Commerce 2016 was organized by Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer.

Scrolling social media
Fount will provide a new method of shopping and scrolling through social media for consumers. While browsing Instagram, the lack of deep-linking prevents users from a native purchasing experience when they see a product of interest posted by someone they follow.

Another issue with browsing social media is that the poster may now include the brand or retailer of which the product is from. Sears is looking to eliminate all of that through the introduction of Fount, as a part of its Shop Your Way team.

The platform will allow users to browse photos that feature shoppable content from retail partners. Fount will have a mobile presence, and will provide a streamlined checkout for participating retailers that it is calling the Universal Cart.

Universal Cart
The Universal Cart will allow users to add items from multiple retailers to their cart while scrolling through social media and check out all at once, no matter how many products are from different retailers. While not all partnered retailers are participating in the Universal Cart, about 64 retailers are already on board for Fount, 60 percent of which are a part of the innovative checkout cart.

If a blogger posts a photograph of her outfit of the day, and the user is interested in purchasing all the items featured in the image, through Fount she will essentially be able to add all the items to the Universal Cart directly within that post. While Fount congregates all these posts, products and retailers, the retailers themselves handle the shipping and distribution from there.

“Think about the end customer experience, Fount is essentially shoppable Instagram,” said Nora Sun, senior director for product and engineering at Sears. “So imagine a customer discovers a beautiful outfit of the day from a famous fashion blogger and she wants to buy the entire outfit.

“Before she would have to go to individual Web sites to checkout, with the Universal Cart she can just put in her information once and click checkout,” she said. “Then we work with individual retailers to provide the orders for this customer.

“So it is definitely a huge improvement for innovative marketing as well as a customer experience.”