December 9, 2015, 6:00 AM

Consumers can access a universal shopping cart using Shoppable for Google Chrome

Shoppable’s technology makes universal checkout available directly to consumers and aims to boost retailers’ e-commerce reach.

Lead Photo

Retail technology firm Shoppable has a new Chrome browser extension that lets consumers shop from any website, add products to a single universal shopping cart and check out once.

The app, called "Shoppable, The Universal Shopping Cart," makes websites shoppable for any consumer who downloads it. Prior to the app rollout Nov. 17, consumers could only see and shop from websites in which the site’s developers had deployed Shoppable’s checkout technology. Now, consumers can shop from publishers’ websites even if the publisher doesn’t know that the products appear on their websites because the browser extension is making the items shoppable.

Heather Marie, founder and CEO of Shoppable, says it's not realistic for every website to install the technology, so Shoppable is expanding the universal checkout feature by putting it on the Chrome browser. Marie says this will help retailers expand their reach by making the entire Internet an e-commerce platform. 

Here’s how it works: A shopper who has registered with Shoppable clicks on the Shoppable icon in her browser to activate the extension or to open up the Shoppable shopping cart. The technology scans the page she is viewing, such as on a news site or blog, and automatically displays products available for purchase from Shoppable retailer clients. For example, a Vogue magazine article about celebrity fashion displays celebrity outfits that readers can imitate. The shopper can click on the Shoppable icon to buy certain items available for purchase to recreate the celebrities’ looks—So Kate pumps, bright red lipstick and royal navy butter LONDON nail polish—rather than being redirected to the retailer’s website. A shopper ready to purchase clicks “checkout” and goes through a single checkout process for all products in her cart.

E-retailers integrate their product catalogs with Shoppable so Shoppable can connect with the universal cart, Marie says. The universal cart has been used by media companies, advertisers and bloggers for three years. These companies set up affiliate codes or tokens with Shoppable to tell Shoppable who drove the sale. After a sale, a publisher, advertiser or blogger receives a commission for driving sales that that can be as high as 50%, but varies with each contract, Marie says.  

Shoppable has 300 merchant customers using the checkout technology, including Forever 21, No. 306 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, and French Connection, and has integrated more than 20 million products, Marie says. The average Shoppable transaction is $150 when a shopper buys products from two different retailers, she says. Retailers pay nothing to join Shoppable, but they pay a commission to Shoppable of 10-15% for each item purchased from their websites.

Retailers and brands have to integrate with Shoppable for the technology to work with their merchandise and receive orders. Although Shoppable accepts orders in a single step for consumers, individual retailers and merchants ship products directly to consumers.

Eliott Khodari, brand manager at online retailer PX Clothing, says the young men’s casual and streetwear apparel retailer uses the new Shoppable universal shopping cart because it makes shopping easy,  popping up the PX website, similar to a pop-up window, automatically as shoppers browse. The extension is within the browser software, not on the website itself. When a shopper is on a website that has shoppable products, the browser extension software automatically recognizes the shopper and will show which products are available. 

“I’m always looking for new customers, and I thought it was a really interesting idea to have the company featured on different websites at the same time,” says Khodari, whose parents, Albert and Cheryl, founded the business. The company sells such items as plaid and button-down shirts, jackets, shorts and sweatpants for men ages 22-35.

Khodari says he was particularly excited to learn that PX Clothing was featured on Complex Media’s website, Green Label, which features stories and promotions about sports, technology, skateboarding, rap music and fashions aimed at young people.  “The more websites PX can be featured on, the more products I likely will sell,” Khodari says.

PX Clothing’s online sales are growing, Khodari says. Combined, e-commerce and subscription-based sales through such sites as Trendy Butler and My Thread Lab account for about 40% of PX’s total revenue, which Khodari declines to disclose.

Smaller merchants can create product feeds, use spreadsheets or manually upload each product to Shoppable, Marie says. The Shoppable software may access a retailer’s e-commerce platform and pull information from it, or the retailer may send data directly to Shoppable, Marie says. Most large retailers and brands have existing technology (product feeds or application programming interfaces) that lets them send the information to Shoppable automatically, she says. 

Shoppable software usually requires three to five days to integrate with an e-commerce platform, can be used securely on any third-party domain and complies with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards—a set of rules created by payment card networks to protect cardholder data, Marie says.

“The idea is to create a checkout that brings the product to the online shopper at the point of inspiration—‘hey, that’s a perfect blanket for my new condo’ or ‘I’d love to wear that dress on a Valentine’s Day date’—without the shopper having to search for fleece throws that match her burgundy couch or red dresses with V-necks,” Marie says. “Until now, the answer was to turn to Google and start searching. After I had the aha moment of figuring out how to directly connect online shoppers with a product they see and want to buy, I spent three-and-a-half years working with retailers, engineers and technology experts. We built a single checkout that could sit on anyone’s non-e-commerce website.”

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