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The End of Guest Checkout on the Internet

When we first started Bolt, our mission was to democratize commerce—to make it easier for merchants and shoppers to transact, and to give small- and medium-sized retailers the same technology and tools as mammoth entities.

We’re proud of how far we’ve advanced in that early mission: By the end of this year, Bolt will count 11 percent of all US shoppers in our ranks.

But the best is yet to come. By the end of 2022, one-third of all US Shoppers will be on our platform, and by the end of 2024, that will grow to two-thirds. By 2025, Bolt is projected to interact with eight out of every ten shoppers in the United States. This data is based on internal projections. It isn’t a question of if we will reach these consumers—but when and how quickly.

*Based on Bolt internal projections

As our network grows, we want our merchants to grow with it. Not just in the tools Bolt creates and the services we provide for them—that’s a given—but in simplifying shopping across so many retailers that the network’s benefits compound. We’re starting to see that take place now, and it’s inaugurating the next evolution of Bolt: We are going to end guest checkout on the Internet forever.

A self-generating network

We like to say that Bolt merchants benefit both at the top of the funnel and at the bottom. At the beginning of the shopping experience, our merchants see a 25 percent or more increase in store account creation—which helps retailers upsell, cross-promote, and market directly to consumers, in addition to owning the relationship with their customers. At the bottom of the funnel, we also see faster checkout conversion rates, meaning that Bolt is helping businesses close sales more effectively and efficiently.

These mechanics and the performance they produce matter, and we’re proud of the hard work we put into them. But we’re prouder of the fact that our merchants own and retain their direct-to-consumer relationships in a way some never could in the past. That allows them to personalize the entire shopping experience from end to end, through loyalty programs, product recommendations, and membership rewards. And all the while, they can be sure that their customers are receiving a safe, fast, and simple shopping experience.

There’s no mistaking the effect that this whole ecosystem has: When a merchant uses Bolt, they see a 75% conversion rate increase, 39% repurchase, and a 23% increase in AOV. And those results explain the Bolt network’s rapid growth over 2020:

Today, we have 7.1 million people on our network and 50 million shoppers accounted for through existing commitments and partnerships. But here’s the truly striking thing: Even if Bolt’s sales and business development teams stopped working today (which they won’t!), we could increase our network by five times its current size. Our network is self-generating its growth—to the benefit of our consumers and our retailers alike.

As our network grows, independent merchants benefit

When the idea of the “network effect” was first studied, economists focused on land-line telephones (remember those?) The telephone is a classic illustration of the network effect: Every new person who got a telephone in the early 20th century made the overall network of phones more powerful.

Similarly, every new Bolt merchant raises the value of the entire Bolt network. Every consumer on our network is able to shop more easily, not just on one site but on all Bolt merchant sites. We’ve seen the power of this network first-hand. Last year, 30 percent of our checkouts were on Bolt One Click, but they were mostly customers returning to the same site. Today, 5 percent of all transactions are “network-driven” (meaning the customer created an account on another site)—and that’s up many multiples since January 2020 when it was less than 1 percent. We’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt the network effect is in full steam, which is why we’re announcing the end of guest checkout.

In other words, we are seeing how our growth in new merchants benefits all of our merchants, and how it drives better outcomes for the entire network—without any merchants having to lift a finger.

Merchants can tap into Bolt’s 7+ million shopper network, one that is growing by tens of thousands of shoppers each day. Every merchant benefits because every customer will have a logged-in return shopper experience—and each new merchant we register is many thousands more people who will have a frictionless experience at all of our merchants.

Why consumers benefit, too

That network effect benefits merchants, but it also benefits our consumers. We’ve saved consumers who use Bolt time, money, and frustration. From the first time a customer saves their information on a merchant using Bolt, they will never have to enter passwords or complete long forms ever again. Their single digital identity becomes a universal shopper profile, and it invisibly creates a logged-in shopping experience everywhere.

So no more frustrating what-was-that-password-again type moments. No more cumbersome hoops to jump through to recover your login info. None of the countless pain points that stand between what consumers want and getting them there. Bolt’s SSO identity recognizes the customer as a return, logged in shopper—even at sites they’ve never been to before. And of course, consumers will get what they’ve become accustomed to from our products: One-click checkout everywhere, and features like post-purchase tracking that offer peace of mind.

In a way, if we’re successful, you might not even know you’re using Bolt. The best products in the world feel and operate like magic—in many cases, you don’t even know you’re engaged in a product experience, one that took years of work and hard thinking to create. That’s Bolt, and our particular magic makes it easier for consumers to take action online, quickly and safely.

Uniting independent merchants around the world

Ultimately, what benefits consumers is what draws together merchants. We’re bringing an Amazon-like network to all independent merchants, and Bolt is decentralizing commerce for retailers and shifting ecommerce forever. We’ve called this movement identity-powered commerce:

We’ve always had a belief that every single merchant—digital or physical—should be able to use the power of the Internet. They should be able to compete on a level playing field, and they shouldn’t need to break the bank or reconfigure their businesses to keep doing what they’ve done. We’ve tried to level that playing field for them, and we’re starting to see now that it’s not just possible—but potentially revolutionary.

If, by 2025, we count eight out of every ten people in the US as in some way linked to Bolt, we’ll have done something not just for ourselves and our investors—but for digital commerce. That’s the big goal we’re trying to achieve, and today, we can confidently say that it is within our reach.

For a limited time only, new Bolt merchants get access to special network pricing, click here to learn more and request your quote. 

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