Consumers in the U.K. tend to be more at ease shopping and making purchases online — especially using mobile devices. This is why making the checkout experience as smooth as possible is a priority for brands and merchants.
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Bolt has been in the news recently. Last week, Authentic Brands Group dropped its lawsuit, which was originally filed in January, against the company. The case claimed that Bolt failed to properly deliver its technology, which cost ABG millions in lost sales. Also, in January, Bolt founder Ryan Breslow stepped down as CEO and was named executive chairman of the board. Maju Kuruvilla, the chief operating officer, succeeded Breslow as CEO.
ABG also said last week that it is looking to be a shareholder of Bolt — but gave no further details.
Here, Ursula Casserly, e-commerce manager at Benefit Cosmetics, and Shilpi Narang, vice president of customer experience at Bolt, share insights into the implementation of Bolt’s technology, how it works and some of the ROIs experienced.
WWD: What were the challenges facing Benefit Cosmetics, and what did Bolt come up with as a solution to help?
Ursula Casserly: The U.K. market is one of the most mature e-commerce markets, and customers are so comfortable shopping online and purchasing through mobile. At Benefit.com U.K., our checkout at the time just didn’t cater to that. We could see in analytics how an intuitive and mobile-first checkout could improve customers’ experience at that crucial stage.
Bolt’s solution not only answered our need for a simple, mobile-first experience but provided an effortless and easy checkout in one click for our customers to make payments. Bolt also introduced new micro-donations at our checkout, allowing our customers to have the choice to round up their pennies to the next nearest pound and donate to our charity partners through our campaign, Bold Is Beautiful.*
Shilpi Narang: Bolt One-Click Checkout addressed Benefit Cosmetic’s need to have a seamless checkout experience across their global entities — one that automatically localized address fields, languages and currencies without sacrificing the customer experience. Bolt’s global footprint across the U.K., Europe and the U.S. brought comfort to their team, even though the integration came on the heels of a busy 2021 holiday season.
WWD: After the implementation of Bolt, what were some of the ROIs Benefit Cosmetics experienced?
S.N.: Benefit Cosmetics implemented Bolt in November 2021 and has seen significant ROI since then. The brand’s U.K. site, for example, experienced an 82 percent increase in checkout rates, a 24 percent increase in conversion and a 23 percent increase in checkout rates.
The brand’s shoppers in the U.K. are heavily reliant on mobile and Apple Pay to shop. And since Bolt is payment-agnostic and integrates with all alternative payment methods, the Bolt integration has allowed Benefit Cosmetics customers to check out at lightning speed using their preferred payment method.
Since Benefit Cosmetics had previously maintained its own checkout system, the Bolt partnership also has simplified operations for the brand. Setting up checkout in Europe is complex for merchants. Having Bolt handle checkout — including GDPR compliance, 3D Secure authentication for PSD2 compliance to support European payments and adjustments for language and currency — has also reduced friction for Benefit Cosmetics.
WWD: How did implementing Bolt change the shopping experience for your shoppers?
U.C.: There are so many small but impactful changes for our customers. Apple Pay, saving cards and payment details securely, one-click check out. To the customer, it feels easy to complete the purchase, Bolt removes all the friction for you.
WWD: Can you explain in more detail how Bolt works? And what is the value proposition for brands?
S.N.: Bolt is the missing link in the current commerce ecosystem. Bolt unlocks secure, logged-in, lightning-fast checkouts, allowing merchants to focus on the shopping experience and building relationships with their customers. It’s not a replacement for the shopping cart platform but rather a complement that integrates with the vast majority of the major platforms, including Adobe Commerce, BigCommerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud and WooCommerce.
On the surface, it appears to be an optimized checkout front-end. But on the backend lies a sophisticated platform embedded with hundreds of integrations and configurations. Beyond integrations, Bolt’s technology includes Checkout (everything conversion), Fraud Protection (approval-first fraud engine) and Payments (payments processing solution) — solving the checkout problems from every angle. Ultimately, Bolt’s goal is to help democratize commerce by making buying effortless everywhere.
Bolt helps merchants of all sizes sell more, grow faster and be more competitive against Goliaths like Amazon.
WWD: How does Bolt work with brands?
S.N.: Bolt offers a complete checkout technology infrastructure that merchants need, along with fast integration and excellent customer support. The company is working closely with the Benefit Cosmetics team on strategic roadmap initiatives and allows the brand to easily roll out new features across its global markets based on local needs.
Benefit Cosmetics is now exploring turning social media into a shoppable, one-click interface in partnership with Bolt. This is particularly interesting for Benefit because a growing number of people discover beauty products on social media, and the initiative could lead to significant new revenue streams for the company.
*Editor’s Note: This is the first year Benefit Cosmetics is featuring the donate at checkout. In 2015, Benefit Cosmetics launched the Bold Is Beautiful philanthropy program to help empower women and girls around the world and give back to local communities through donation proceeds coming from brow waxes. More than 1.4 million pounds was raised in the U.K., and globally, $21.8 million has been raised for Bold Is Beautiful.