Bolt’s Federation Expands—The More Open A Network, The More It Can Grow

Bolt Team

Author

Bob Buch

Bob Buch is the Chief Business Officer of Bolt

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At the start of the commercial internet, walled gardens were all the rage. The logic: Get an audience, lock them up tight, and monetize.

But that always felt a bit suspect, and it ran counter to the original spirit of the internet. The first proto-internet networks were open venues for information exchange. They were primarily research tools, and they were pathways to share ideas.

Modern commerce tools could take a page out of those original ideals. When building a network—whether the internet or a worldwide checkout system—openness is essential, because the more open the network, the more room it has to grow.

That’s how we think about it at Bolt. A bigger network benefits our merchants, because more of their consumers get a better checkout experience. A bigger network benefits our partners, because it offers scale without them having to solely be responsible for building it. And of course, a bigger network benefits consumers, because they get the same speedy checkout experience on more ecommerce sites. 

Even BigCommerce’s merchants testify to Bolt’s positive effect on their businesses: The head of Adamma’s Notions said that they were “seeing more orders, fewer abandoned carts, and delivering an awesome experience for returning customers.” The CEO of Rocker Rags concurred, sharing that “I’ve heard from customers that they say that it’s a very easy, seamless, hassle-free way to check out and they haven’t had any issues.” Same goes for the head of US ecommerce for the Hoffmann Group, who said that Bolt “is adding a layer of trust for our customers and bringing us new ones along the way.”

We appreciate hearing that, of course, but these affirmations are also validated by data. When we look at the aggregate numbers, our merchants get a 2.5 percent to 10 percent lift in checkouts after implementing our technology. That’s just from improving checkout—not new products or lines of business.

We’ve built more relationships as we’ve grown, including with BigCommerce, Adobe, and PrestaShop. Now, we’re proud to add another partner to the mix: ecommerce platform Solidus. By teaming up with Bolt, Solidus alongside our other partners have adopted a federated approach to one-click checkout—thereby increasing the value of the network for everyone involved.

And that’s the key: The reason these players—who compete in other spaces—unite with Bolt is because we’re able to grow the pie in the aggregate. At each ecommerce store—no matter if it’s powered by BigCommerce or Adobe—customers will get the same, powerful one-click checkout experience. 

Bolt has seen a 200% year-over-year increase in merchants as a result of our deepened partnerships with platforms this year. And we’re not done. We want to incorporate any payment provider or method, because the more open we are, the more we help everyone in the Bolt ecosystem. 

Of course, some of our competitors operate differently. They prefer to remain “closed loop,” and that creates limitations for their partners which in turn creates a fragmented experience for shoppers. If there are certain commerce partners that you can’t use or payment systems that are forbidden, then you limit your network’s possibilities.

The detractors will say: It’s because we want to be able to keep data and improve the customer experience. But that’s a false choice: We’ve been able to work with our merchants to directly connect them with first-party data on their shoppers. Because we unify retail store accounts with Bolt accounts, we’re able to offer our merchants upside of a larger network and the information they need to personalize and turn their one-time shoppers into loyal customers.

We see openness as a virtue, and as a result, Bolt adds value to the federation of partners who unite with us. These partners understand that openness wins over the long-term, and they appreciate that our goal is not to build a manicured walled garden just for Bolt, but to try to build the best commerce solutions for the internet writ large.

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