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Deciding to buy an item and completing a transaction are closely related steps in the ecommerce journey, but there can be a lot of distance between them.
Great marketing and merchandising can help put a sale within reach, but the path to “Buy” is often hampered with roadblocks like second-guessing, second opinions and even multistep checkouts.
Often, items go unsold. Shopping cart abandonment on mobile devices rose to 85% in 2021, according to the Baymard Institute. For brands and retailers, one way to address this may be to grow traffic, as a larger number of visitors will increase the likelihood of more checkout completions. But the cost to get more people in the door is going up, as US ad spending per person is expected to rise 8% this year, according to Insider Intelligence.
“Brands need a more organic solution that doesn’t require expensive ad spend,” said Daniel Abas.
As a five-time founder with two exits, Abas turned this gap into a product at the heart of a new company.
Called TAGS Commerce, the Los Angeles-based startup’s innovation addresses the issue of cart abandonment at the checkout process level.
The company’s technology enables brands and retailers to place a Tag on an item in any digital or physical media that provides a way for customers to check out instantly. Once the Tag is activated through a click or a scan, the shopper is taken to a pre-loaded shopping cart, where they can complete checkout with a single tap.
To date, the company is seeing 64% order conversion rate through its work with brands and retailers such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Foot Locker, Roc Nation, Parade and Young & Reckless, as well as influencers Kall Me Kris, Guap and others.
This momentum is propelling TAGS into a more public launch. It recently emerged from stealth mode with a rebrand from Boost Commerce, and is in the process of closing its seed round. So far, it has raised $3.5 million from investors including XRC Labs, Gaingels, Not Boring, Tiny Capital, Vibe Capital and Unpopular Ventures.
It arrives as commerce is extending from marketplaces and stores into more channels. More digitally native brands are opening brick-and-mortar retail stores, while short-form video and livestreaming are making media shoppable and growing social commerce. Crossover between physical and digital experiences is also becoming more prevalent as a result of QR codes and early exploration of the metaverse.
With experience building virtual assistant pioneer Red Butler and early digital marketing agency GHOST, Abas saw how this shift will require infrastructure to create efficiency and allow the different experiences to work together. That’s not yet fully in place, and Abas said a return to focusing on the customer is required to get there.
“Ecommerce, for the most part, is a grumpy old Frankenstein, made up of foreign body parts that have been forced to work together,” Abas said. “Most sellers’ inertia prevents them from adopting new technology and thinking critically to win unrecognized customers. Ironically, we built TAGS by placing the buyer in the center of our story. If you can optimize the buyer’s experience, you win the seller by default.”
With evolution can come improvement. So as TAGS is building technology for a new generation of distributed commerce, it is not only aiming to provide the checkout points that will be an important tool to allow transactions to happen. It is also working to address the cart abandonment rates that became such a big issue in the current era by embedding checkout at the point where purchase intent is highest.
One way it’s doing so is by ensuring that Tags are available across the different types of media where commerce is taking place. The company offers the following formats:
- QR Tags can be used for instant purchasing at physical locations, products or print materials, like magazines or brochures.
- Link Tags can be used on social media as link stickers or as bio links.
- Text Tags can be embedded in live shopping, podcasts and other types of conversational commerce.
- Tap Tags are designed for engagement on websites, AR, VR or the metaverse.
- Creators and influencers can generate Tags for products and share them to earn commissions. Or, creators can curate products and add them to “Dropshop” pages for direct buying.
A TAGS Dropshop for creators. (Courtesy photo)
The range allows brands and retailers to offer the same checkout across the breadth of formats where they have a presence. It’s also evident that mobile checkout can be a mechanism to evolve the shopping experience as a whole. In physical retail, the process of checkout can be made simpler by scanning a QR code at the rack, instead of taking it to the register.
Yet there are other opportunities to serve customers, as well. TAGS allows items to be saved for later, so shoppers can start an order in-store and finish it from somewhere else. Brands and retailers can also add recommended items to the checkout page, providing a way to potentially increase average order value. Post-purchase, they can provide access to more flexibility by adding in-store pickup or shipping options for an item. Along with offering a way to pay, it’s a jumping off point for new opportunities to serve the customer.“TAGS is pioneering a new category in the future of commerce,” said Al Sambar, general partner at retail tech and consumer goods accelerator XRC Labs. “We welcomed them into our Opportunity Fund earlier this year, and we believe they’re the missing link between advertising spend and monetization for retailers and brands.”
Trending in Operations
The marketplace teamed with Techstars to support entrepreneurs charting the future of ecommerce.
Ecommerce marketplace eBay is teaming up with a national pre-seed investor to launch a new accelerator for startups building ecommerce technology.
The program, called Techstars Future of Ecommerce powered by eBay, will apply an accelerator model from Techstars that has supported thousands of companies to innovation that aims "to make selling and buying more equitable, attainable and sustainable,” according to eBay.
“Techstars has supported thousands of entrepreneurs that are using innovative technologies to transform industries,” said Collin Wallace, Managing Director at Techstars. “eBay’s expertise as an ecommerce pioneer paired with the programming, capital and connections that Techstars provides will create an unparalleled opportunity for founders.”
Here are key details about the program:
- Length: 13-week program
- Location: Hybrid. Founders can participate in-person in San Francisco, or remotely.
- Applications are open here through July 5.