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Two Tap’s universal shopping cart volume jumps as retailers, publishers sign on

Two Tap is helping publishers and retailers increase sales conversions for mobile and traditional online purchases via what purports to be the first checkout solution allowing consumers to buy any product from any retailer on any mobile app or Web site using a universal shopping cart.

The shopping cart enables purchases from over 200 retailers, including American Apparel, Best Buy, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Target. Two Tap extends the checkout processes to reach anywhere across the Web, such as on charitable giving site CommuniGift and in mobile applications Honey and Kiip.

“An application programming interface that can extend checkouts beyond the typical retailer desktop flow essentially changes the ecommerce space by empowering access to so many new eyeballs,” said Razvan Roman, CEO of Two Tap. “It’s like removing a barrier.

“An important Gen Y trend is chasing uniqueness – hence smaller designer brands are popping up, and we’re seeing these consumers look at products and assess them individually as opposed to factoring in the retailer that sells them.

“Consumer-curated fashion collections are also popular – and now you can buy all the products in a collection without going through a separate checkout for each product.  One checkout for multiple products is a huge time-saver, and an effective way for mobile app developers and publishers to enable purchases within their app and gain ROI each time a consumer buys any product,” he said.

Tapping pain points.
For the last decade, retailers have thought online shopping experiences should mirror the offline experience, and have long attempted to represent a real-store experience in the virtual world. And while product discovery has changed, streamlining the checkout process remains largely untapped for buying from multiple merchants.

Two Tap caters to a consumer’s needs by allowing shoppers in a mobile app to click “Buy” on a product they desire.  This activation opens up the Two Tap cart, which displays only the available product options while removing any sold out products. Users only need to enter their shipping and billing data one time, which are passed through a service to be verified before submitting to the retailer.

Two taps of a finger later the user’s shopping data is used to order the product through Two Tap’s API from the retailer that sells it. The same standard order confirmation email from the retailer is delivered. The retailer obtains a customer’s full data, processes the payment, and is able to relay data to app developers concerning what a shopper bought on their platform.

At the end of this process, the user is still in-app, and will not have to enter the data again when buying subsequent products. There is no password, enabling users to retrieve their “wallet” with an email address and unique PIN code sent to a phone via text message.

A retailer typically works with a company to manage its affiliate program – or are part of a network that sets up campaigns. Publishers then sign up for a campaign and if the retailer approves them, they can generate affiliate revenue. This is traditionally done by tracking affiliate and campaign codes with cookies whenever a consumer leaves an app and ends up on the retailer site, finalizing the transaction.

“The same model is empowered by our API on the back end when a consumer places the order without leaving the app,” Mr. Roman said. “We benefit from these existing relationships between retailers and publishers and are compatible with most of the big affiliate networks for compliance.”

During the past six months, Two Tap has demonstrated significant growth with a nearly 5,000 percent increase in monthly transactions.  It reports that its solution has increased publishers’ mobile sales conversion rates by six to 10 times, on par with desktop sales. The technology can be used on any Web-connected device, including gaming consoles and wearable technology like Google Glass.

The company has raised $2.7 million in a seed round of funding, attracting high profile investors including the former CEO of Visa, Joseph Saunders; co-founder of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian; and co-founder of Posterous, Gary Tan, in addition to Transmedia Capital and Digital Garage.

Shopping for solutions
Any app that sits at the intersection of a consumer that wants to purchase a product and the friction required to do that such as linking to multiple sites, inputting data, order errors, unoptimized sites etc., could potentially reduce abandonment and streamline the path to purchase with a universal cart.

The Keep app works similar to Two Tap, as it seeks to recruit the 10 percent of total U.S. commerce occurs that occurs online and on mobile. The Keep Web-wide cart serves as an intercessor between shoppers and retailers, allowing users to bring in products from any store on the Web by discovering picks from Keep’s community of tastemakers.

When orders are placed, Keep fundamentally buys the product for customers, which are then bought through Keep who manages all order placements, purchasing and shipping obligations.

Another great use case is CommuniGift, which has partnered with the Salvation Army. Families in need set up lists of products they need from different retailers. Donors go to the site, clip the products in a cart, open it and introduce their billing. The shipping is pre-filled. They do not go through multiple checkout processes ordering products to an address they do not know.

Implications for retailers
While retailers will not introduce their own universal carts due to competition, they develop APIs or look for consultancies to help them with an omnichannel retail strategy that would help them reach the consumer in an actionable way outside their traditional funnel.

“Think of insurance companies. They never sell their competitors offers obviously, but third party insurance agents can work with multiple insurance companies and contrast and compare multiple offers to benefit a consumer,” Mr. Roman said.

“That consumer then purchases from the intermediary that took the time to educate them. The exact same thing is happening in commerce, where app developers are doing great jobs at capturing consumer’s attention, but the sales flow is broken — the consumer always leaves the app at some point.”

“Not anymore! This model wasn’t possible before because the technology was missing,” he said.

Keep and Two Tap are a win-win for retailers and consumers, and may help drive up the percentage of commerce that is transacting online.

The challenges with universal carts directly relates to the complex space of individual retailers.  Each checkout process is completely different. The logic of each retailer’s shopping cart can be pretty specific too. The obvious challenge is scaling this—a minimum viable product can be built, but it is difficult to support hundreds of merchants at the same time.  And sometimes the retailer sites change. Two Tap utilizes an automated systems in place which mediates the complexities.

“The biggest challenge of all was to prove that consumers are willing to trade some luxuries when they’re on the go,” Mr. Roman said. “Gift wrapping is a good example.”

“For the convenience of placing orders very quickly, who wouldn’t want to use their Amazon 1-Click Buy button on any retailer site? “

Final Take
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York