CEO Sharon Price John says Build-A-Bear’s old e-commerce system is a big reason for disappointing online sales in December.
A new online payment platform lets teens initiate online purchases that parents complete later on.
Bidding for a share of the estimated $132 billion spent annually by teens, online and off, Socialwise Inc. has launched BillMyParents. It’s an online payment platform that teens can use to make purchases atAmazon.com, and soon at several video game sites. On the way is a social shopping application that will allow teens to share their purchases online with friends.
Teens using BillMyParents can initiate a purchase at BMPshopping.com, an Amazon.com affiliate site. Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, holds the inventory and ships the goods, once payment is confirmed. Parents learn of their kids’ purchases through automated instant e-mail and text notifications, then approve and complete the purchase by entering their credit card information. There is a 50-cent fee for each transaction.
BillMyParents also is working on integrating its payment system with teen-focused online gaming and social networks sites Artix Entertainment, Habbo, Outspark and others, the company says. In that case, BillMyParents will become an option on those sites, much as PayPal or Bill Me Later is on other e-commerce sites. Those sites will inform shoppers before they get to the shopping cart or checkout page that a credit card is not required to initiate an online purchase.
BillMyParents also has developed account management applications for social networks MySpace and Facebook that allow teens to track the purchase requests they make, share recent purchases with friends and rate products, all from a dashboard on their social network profiles. That application is expected to be rolled out within the coming weeks, the company says.
Socialwise Inc. develops platforms that integrate e-commerce products and services into applications for use in social networks.