June 14, 2012, 3:54 PM

ShopRunner picks up the pace

The shipping program offers members a way to make purchases in two clicks.

Lead Photo

Fiona Dias

Consumers who use ShopRunner to get two-day free shipping from participating retailers soon will be able to place those purchases even faster. The fulfillment service aims to make available in July or August an Express Checkout feature that lets consumers complete purchases at ShopRunner client e-retail sites with two clicks, Fiona Dias, ShopRunner chief strategy officer, tells Internet Retailer.

Now, when ShopRunner members go to check out at any of the 58 participating e-retail sites, they are prompted to log in with their ShopRunner credentials to activate ShopRunner’s two-day free shipping for that order. Then they go on to enter their payment and shipping details at the e-retailer’s site. The number of steps involved in the checkout flow process varies by retailer, and that checkout process is a point in the online buying process where many consumers abandon sites, Dias says. With Express Checkout, those consumers won’t have to enter their payment or shipping details with each retailer because ShopRunner already has that information, Dias says.

When a consumer visits a product page on a ShopRunner participating e-commerce site, he’ll see a ShopRunner “Buy Now Express Checkout” prompt. For members, clicking it activates ShopRunner Express Checkout. The first click activates a pop-up window where a consumer sees his default billing and shipping information. If the consumer agrees with that information, he confirms it with a second click and places the order. At this point, he can also make adjustments, such as shipping to an alternative address, adding a coupon or promotional code, or applying a gift card credit.

Dias describes Express Checkout as being similar to the 1-Click ordering function available to shoppers signed in on Amazon.com. “Outside of Amazon, until now no one has had a ‘buy it now’ service with two-day shipping,” Dias says. She says ShopRunner decided on a two-click process that requires members to confirm their details rather than a one-click process so consumers can avoid taking an action they didn’t intend.

ShopRunner charges consumers an annual fee of $79 for the two-day shipping, providing competition to a similar program operated by Amazon called Prime, which also charges $79. Amazon sweetens the deal by allowing Amazon Prime members to stream for free a growing collection of TV shows and movies.

Dias also says that ShopRunner is changing from a shipping program into a loyalty and customer acquisition service for retailers. She says ShopRunner metrics reveal that when consumers join ShopRunner their online purchases with the retailer that introduced them to the program doubles during the first four months of membership. Dias also says that 70% of members who buy from ShopRunner e-retailer sites beyond the merchant that introduced them to the program are new customers to those retailers.  

ShopRunner this spring announced that some of its participating retailers that also have physical stores will start acting as package pickup points for members’ online orders from all participating ShopRunner retailers. Multichannel retailers that participate in ShopRunner include Toys ‘R’ Us Inc., No. 29 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, The Sports Authority Inc. (No. 230), General Nutrition Centers Inc. (No. 203), and PetSmart Inc. (No. 315). ShopRunner is owned by Kynetic LLC, a company launched this year by Michael Rubin, the founder of e-commerce technology provider GSI Commerce, which developed ShopRunner.

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