How It Works
Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) is introducing a new digital feature for its retail brand Hollister, which caters largely to teens. It enables online shoppers to share their shopping cart with others, in this case likely a parent or guardian. Called Share2Pay, the company hopes it will help overcome one of retail’s most persistent and vexing problems: lost sales.
When teens load up their shopping cart with tee shirts, shoes, and fragrances, they need to convince whoever holds the credit card that the purchase is worthwhile. Of course, that effort sometimes fails, or kids are in a different room from their parents. Ambercrombie says Share2Pay is intended to cut down on those missed opportunities. The shopping cart can be sent to the ultimate buyer via text message, at which time items can be deselected for purchase.
There’s some evidence that inflation is eating into Hollister’s sales. The brand, along with sister labels Gilly Hicks and Social Tourist, reported a 15% decline in sales year-over-year for the quarter ending July 30. Executives say while they’re optimistic inflation could begin to cool off as we head into 2023, the most basic challenge when driving sales at Hollister is access to a credit card. Plainly stated, few teens enjoy such direct purchasing power.
So far the results are promising. After Share2Pay was tested with a pilot group, customers using the system were two times more likely to complete a purchase.
It could be a gamechanger if the feature is successful over the long-term. Research firm Insider Intelligence calls “cart abandonment” – when a would-be buyer walks away from cued up purchases – the ecommerce industry’s biggest challenge. Experts say this is especially true for apparel companies.
For any consumers excited about potentially using this feature – or for any parents who are troubled by the notion of added pressure to spend cash – Share2Pay may not last. Companies that have tried out similar programs in the past eventually disbanded them. This includes toy retailer Camp NYC’s Present Shop. Kids as young as three years of age could shop with budgets set by adults, but Present Shop was shut down just 18 months after its launch.
Other features such as Amazon Teen and Apple’s (AAPL) “Ask to Buy” have persisted. Amazon’s version gives kids ages 13 to 17 their own logins. Apple’s feature lets kids request purchases in a Family Sharing group. For a sector focused on avoiding “lost sales,” the hope is that sharing across generational gaps could be the key.
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