ShopStyle to Launch Universal Checkout

By Julian Thumm | 17 Feb 2016

PopSugar is looking to become the “iTunes or App Store of fashion” with the launch of a universal checkout through its fashion search engine ShopStyle.

Web publisher PopSugar Inc. is working on a universal mobile shopping cart and checkout for women’s fashion and accessories, reported the Wall Street Journal.

The checkout will operate through ShopStyle, Popugar’s specialised search engine for women’s apparel and accessories, which it bought in 2007. As of April, shoppers will be able to make purchases across a range of brands directly through the ShopStyle site or app, rather than being redirected to retailers’ sites or apps to complete purchases. To facilitate the purchase process, shoppers will also be able to create a profile and save their credit card and shipping details.

According to PopSugar founder and CEO, Brian Sugar, mobile shoppers complete purchases at just one-third the rate of desktop shoppers on ShopStyle. Slow loading apps and the hassle of having to enter credit card and shipping details creates significant friction in the mobile checkout process. The quality of a retailer’s site or app can have a huge affect on cart abandonment. If a shopper finds a product they want on ShopStyle, but the retailer’s mobile site or app loads too slowly or has a convoluted checkout process, then a shopper is likely to abandon the sale. With mobile representing 71 percent of ShopStyle’s traffic, the company is obviously keen to do what it can to up mobile conversions and streamline the purchase process.

The new checkout process will be powered by Cosmic Cart, which PopSugar bought in November, and will be promoted on PopSugar’s network of 14,000 partner blogs and websites.

Currently, PopSugar takes 15 percent of purchases resulting from searches through ShopStyle. This arrangement is not expected to change with the launch of the universal checkout.

“We think there is an opportunity to become the iTunes or App Store of fashion and accessories,” Sugar told the Wall Street Journal.

ShopStyle features 18 million products from over 1,400 retailers. According to internal data, it drives 18 million unique visitors per month. ShopStyle drove $1 billion in revenue for its retail partners last year, according to Sugar.

While PopSugar’s universal cart and checkout system should be massive for the company and for partnered retailers, they will face competition.

Online fashion company, Lyst, is currently rolling out a similar product in the US. Last year, Lyst announced that it was rolling out a universal shopping cart and checkout for its US site that would allow shoppers to add multiple items from various retailers to a shopping cart, and then make purchases without having to leave the Lyst site.

In the two months after rolling out its new cart and checkout system in the US, sales initiated by Lyst grew more than five-fold, according to Business Insider.

Sugar also acknowledged that the move may place the company in competition with e-commerce giants like Amazon.

“Amazon is an amazing company,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “If you go back to the types of merchants that sell there, it’s great for commodity-based goods. Our brands are different.”