Nov. 19, 2020

Retail has an innovation problem


It’s easy to buy something in a store—all it takes is the tap of a smartphone and you’re done. How come, then, buying things online is still such a clunky experience?

Today on Business Casual, we’re investigating why online retail has been so slow to innovate with Domm Holland, co-founder and CEO of Fast (aka “world’s fastest online login and checkout platform”). Because unless retailers can learn to try new tech things, they’ll lose customers to the dreaded cart abandonment.

And that has major repercussions. Listen to this episode to understand why.

Transcript

Kinsey Grant, Morning Brew business editor and podcast host [00:00:09] Hey there, everybody, and welcome to Business Casual. I am your host, Kinsey Grant, and today's episode will be the embodiment of the rocket ship emoji, which means we have no time to waste, even if you're listening at 2x. So, let's get into it. [sound of a ding]

 

Kinsey [00:00:23] How many hours do you think you've spent in your lifetime inputting payment information or shipping details for online shopping orders? If you're like me, it's probably an embarrassing amount of time, and about long enough to memorize your credit card number backward and forward. The time it takes to type in our info every single time we buy something online has become one of a number of barriers to ecommerce meeting its full multitrillion dollar potential. 

 

Kinsey [00:00:47] And given how massively COVID has shifted our shopping habits online, it feels like without addressing those speed bumps, we're about to run a marathon with one shoe untied. In our last episode, we got the full rundown of why and how ecommerce will inevitably change the face of retail. Today, we are going to figure out how we smooth out some of those wrinkles and clear some of those hurdles and make [chuckles] sure that our shoes are tied before we start the race. 

 

Kinsey [00:01:10] And here's how we're going to do that. We're going to learn more about how ecommerce innovators can make buying online easier and quicker for shoppers like us and more profitable for retailers everywhere struggling with a cart abandonment rate some have pegged at 80% of potential purchases. And to help us do that, I am bringing in an expert, Domm Holland, co-founder and CEO of Fast, the startup that calls itself the world's fastest online login and checkout platform. Domm, welcome to Business Casual. 

 

Domm Holland, co-founder and CEO of Fast [00:01:38] Thanks so much for having me. What a lovely intro. 

 

Kinsey [00:01:42] [laughs] I hope you liked it. I wrote it just for you. [laughs] 

 

Domm [00:01:45] Very good. 

 

Kinsey [00:01:46] So, before we jump in here, can you give me—in the spirit of Fast—can you give me the super-fast elevator pitch on what you guys are doing at the company and why you created this company in the first place? 

 

Domm [00:01:56] Yeah, look, the simplest form is for a one-click checkout for the entire internet with no passwords. So it is literally a button that you see on websites that says fast checkout. When you click it, you instantly buy whatever you're looking at. You don't have to enter your profile information, don't have to enter payment information, don't need to go through a 10-step process. 

 

Kinsey [00:02:13] That was incredibly fast [laughs] and incredibly concise. And it sounds really, really great. I think that Fast has really taken off, especially in my circle of Twitter. It is everywhere. I reference that rocket ship emoji has become synonymous with the company, and it's been really cool to watch the progress that you guys have made, especially in the last six months, have been really, really crazy. And we're gonna talk more about Fast specifically and why it exists in the first place. I want to get started with that. Let's jump right in. You ready? 

 

Domm [00:02:39] I'm ready. Let's do it. 

 

Kinsey [00:02:40] Awesome. So, more than $3.5 trillion is spent worldwide on ecommerce annually, which is a huge number. But, I'm curious why the health of that $3.5 trillion ecommerce global economy relies on payments running smoothly. Can you explain why the payments part of this equation is so important? 

 

Domm [00:02:59] Well, it's hard to buy something without paying for it. [laughs] So it's a huge component of commerce. You know, commerce generally, right? Commerce in stores relies on payments. And we've had very large and traditional payment systems built over many decades that service physical retailers. And over the last 10 years, there's been a lot of work being put into sort of online payments and platforms, companies like Stripe, Adyen, and Braintree, done a lot of work there. 

 

Domm [00:03:26] But the exchange of goods for money relies on payment systems and it's a critical infrastructure of ecommerce. The reality, though, is, I actually think the problem, or the friction of payments specifically, isn't the payment systems. It's an identity problem, not a payment problem. 

 

Domm [00:03:45] The sort of payment rails that exist today are perfectly capable of sending money all around the world. But it's the pain of getting those rails to work and sort of establishing a new connection with a retailer or a company that's the real problem. So really, we don't consider ourselves a payments company. Payments is a big part of our business. We consider ourselves an identity company. And that's the probably the biggest difference. 

 

Kinsey [00:04:09] Interesting. So the infrastructure that has existed for a pretty long time, since ecom became as big as it is, is suitable? We just don't have, I guess, the tools at our fingertips to actually make it seamless. Is that appropriate? 

 

Domm [00:04:23] Yeah. Look, so it's quite well known that Stripe led our Series A. I think Stripe's a great example. Stripe has spent 10 years building an incredible sort of payments infrastructure business. They make it very easy for businesses to accept payments online. So you can give your credit card number to a business and then that business now can process that credit card through an incredibly complex sort of labyrinth of payment networks quite seamlessly because Stripe enabled all of that on the back-end. 

 

Domm [00:04:49] But that doesn't make it any easier for the consumer to make the payment. Doesn't matter how many businesses use Stripe. It's the same sort of arduous process each time of a retailer asking for a whole bunch of information. And so, over the last 10 years, there's been much innovation around making it easier for businesses to manage payments. 

 

Domm [00:05:07] But, there hasn't been a lot of innovation around making it easier for consumers to make payments. And that really is where we sit—it's about building the consumer-side layer, or the consumer-side network, that really has been largely ignored. 

 

Kinsey [00:05:23] Right. I've seen you describe this as a, quote, clunky user experience for the consumer, trying to buy things online and pay for things online wherever you might shop. Can you explain why it's so clunky? What about it makes this an unsuitable consumer experience to buy and pay for things on the internet? Why does it suck so much? 

 

Domm [00:05:42] [laughs] Well, let's compare it to buying something in a store. You walk into a store, you pick up an item, you walk to the counter, and you tap your card and then you walk out of the store. It's actually a really beautiful process. I mean, offline payments could still be revolutionized, but that's like a very seamless, easy experience. 

 

Domm [00:05:58] Then the process of buying something online is you find something you want to buy. You click "add to cart," then you click "view cart," then you click "checkout." Then the store asks you for your email address. You type your email address in. And then they're like, well, you've shopped there before, so now you have to enter some 18-character arbitrary string that is unique just for this one store. 

 

Domm [00:06:19] The cognitive load suddenly that's imposed on us is ridiculous. And it's not like we have one—we have 500 of these. And then if you're a new customer, well, then we have to enter all of your profile information again, shipping address, like all of this information. Then once that's done, then they're like, right, how do you want to pay? Here's five companies that make it slightly easier to not have to enter your credit card number. 

 

Domm [00:06:40] It's just a horrible process. And it's so strange that in a completely digital environment, there is so much more friction to pay for things than in a physical environment, and so it's one of the most unique sort of aspects of life that the digital experience is far slower than the physical one. 

 

Kinsey [00:07:01] That's such an interesting sort of dichotomy, right, that we speak so often about how much easier it is to just buy something on Amazon, like buy something online instead of having to get in your car, get on the subway, and go to a store. But, in reality, there are a lot of hurdles [chuckles] to actually buying something online. They just look different than they do in person. 

 

Domm [00:07:19] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I think we completely—I think so much technology we take for granted how terrible it is. [laughs] You know, [Kinsey laughs] I think passwords are a perfect example, like the fact that every login form in the world has a link that you click when it doesn't work—just screams like—it's so hilarious that we know that it doesn't work 70% of the time. So we'll create the second version of what you do when you can't use the first version. 

 

Domm [00:07:45] There's not many pieces of technology that come with what you do when it doesn't work—you know, a guide attached to it. So I think that that's funny. And I think it's just like identity in general. Like, why do we have to keep filling in—like, I'm 33 years old. My name, date of birth—like basic information hasn't changed in three decades. Yet I have to keep typing it in as if it's like brand-new information. How is this not some digital electronic record that I can use time and time again, seamlessly and simply? It just is astounding. 

 

Kinsey [00:08:17] So let's say that this all comes to fruition. We create this online identity that can be easily replicated and used on any number of different platforms. Do you think that impacts the ways that we actually shop for things online—that we use ecommerce? Do you think will buy more things if this were to become reality? 

 

Domm [00:08:33] So first of all, this is reality now. [Kinsey laughs] We've made it a reality. The second thing is, do I think it's gonna—people are going to buy more things? Yes. Do I think people are going to buy a lot more unnecessary things. No. I always say, we've got tap-and-pay in a store, right? Do you buy 10 times the amount of chips now the store has tap-and-pay? No. It's just an easier way for you to buy the chips. 

 

Domm [00:08:57] You're already going to the counter or candy bars or whatever else, but you don't sort of walk down the street saying, oh, I'm going to duck in and buy 10 times more candy because I don't have to swipe my card anymore. Or suddenly your basket doesn't grow 10x because of that experience. 

 

Domm [00:09:12] But I started the business after literally seeing—it's not just some nice startup story. I literally watched my wife's grandmother—she couldn't buy groceries. She had an account with a with a large grocery chain that refused to let her in without a password, and just couldn't get a password to work. And this is like the first barrier typically in this sort of commerce experience. 

 

Domm [00:09:33] The reality is, would granny have been able to buy groceries with Fast? Absolutely. And so we will 100% power more purchases than are made today. That is the absolute goal. And make it easier. Even if people could eventually get through, instead of it taking 10 minutes, it'll take less than 10 seconds. 

 

Domm [00:09:51] And so I do believe that we're gonna make it faster and easier. And we already do. We've seen that—like stock results in conversion rates. But, I don't think that it necessarily is tied to some sort of junk purchases that I think some people may attribute just making fast payments. 

 

Kinsey [00:10:06] Yeah. And that efficiency matters a lot, especially when you are looking at a million [chuckles] different open boxes that you have to type something into. It's like, do I really need this? I'm really not quite sure. I'll come back to it another time. And then you completely forget about it. So from the retailer's perspective, I can really imagine how this—making this a more seamless process would be a net positive for them. And it appears that there is no huge net negative for the consumer. 

 

Kinsey [00:10:30] But, on this sort of idea of the consumer and the retailer having this relationship and transacting with one another, why does the consumer experience matter so much to the retailer? And do you think that that experience has become more important in this sort of post-COVID world, where we are buying a lot more things online than we used to? 

 

Domm [00:10:48] So there are two parts to our commerce business. And the first one is checkout. That's the main one that we talk about, because from a retailer's perspective, they get incredible lift to conversion right from using Fast checkout. We've proven it time and time again. And from a consumer's perspective, it's the fastest, easiest way to buy something. So both sides get so much value out of just our core value that we don't really talk about the other side as much. 

 

Domm [00:11:12] But I do think it becomes far more apparent, far more interesting, and far more important over time. The consumer experience is sophisticated. Retailers really understand how important consumer experience is. But from the checkout perspective, it's just about eliminating friction. That's all it's about. Optimizing checkout is about eliminating friction. 

 

Domm [00:11:32] But the real consumer experience, I think, comes from post-purchase. Once we buy something, and this is, again, like this common identity problem, is post-purchase. Once you've bought something, if you haven't bought it on Amazon, your best option is to go to email to try and find a tracking link and then maybe click the link and go to some random, [indistinct] website with a different view every time to try and understand where your package is. 

 

Domm [00:11:56] If there's a problem with your delivery, you have to go back to a link, click a link to log in to the store with a password you created for one store, and then have a whole different set of dynamics every time. That's a terrible experience. And that is where consumers can—sorry, merchants—can really do the most in improving customer experience. And I think that this is going to become very important over time. 

 

Domm [00:12:16] You know, the sort of platforms, ecommerce platforms that can democratize Amazon. The impact of that is that suddenly you have exponentially more disparate systems for consumers to manage. And that's fine if you can remove the friction points of buying things to make it easier to engage with more merchants. But then now you've added the friction points of after they bought something. And so I think it's really important that you try and look at this. 

 

Domm [00:12:41] And this is why, again, the problem with online commerce holistically isn't just a payment problem. It's a full identity problem, and it's a consumer data management problem. And that's why we try and solve much bigger problems than just purely payment. 

 

Kinsey [00:12:56] Right. This concept of democratizing Amazon is something that has come up time and time again in every part of this retail story that we've been telling and this ecommerce story we've been telling. With Josh Silverman from Etsy, it was trying to differentiate yourself from Amazon, offer something that Amazon can't. 

 

Kinsey [00:13:13] I think with the identity and payments part of the conversation, Amazon inevitably comes up too. We think about the one-click checkout idea, essentially started with Amazon for most of us. They started doing it, you know, I think it was like 1999 or something, that they patented one-click as a feature on the website. What does that mean for Fast and for other companies that are trying to innovate in this space? Are you trying to create the next Amazon-like tool? 

 

Domm [00:13:40] So I think that the reality is Amazon is a marketplace, right? And so they've built the tools that make that marketplace really sticky. And the primary tools, I think, are identity and payments on the front-end to make it easier to buy something. They've got the logistics network and then they've got post-purchase. 

 

Domm [00:14:01] You know, really, the reason why people will go to a merchant site, see a product they like, and then go to Amazon and search for the product and buy it from Amazon is because they're logged into Amazon. Amazon's got their information. It's really easy to buy. They know that it's gonna come quickly. And then once they've bought it, they know they can track everything in one place. It's really easy to manage. Support's pretty good. It's this whole of customer experience solution. 

 

Domm [00:14:23] And so we absolutely [laugh] are not trying to solve logistics. [Kinsey chuckles] The other two pieces we have absolutely nailed. And I think the reality is that competition is a great thing in capitalism, and competition is great for consumers. And consumers just want to engage more directly with brands. We've seen this in the D2C push. Consumers do want to sort of understand who is behind the things that they're buying. But the friction involved in them doing that is so great that it is a massive deterrent. 

 

Domm [00:14:54] And so what we're providing is tools so that consumers can engage directly with brands, but they get all of the same experiences that they get from Amazon. They just don't need to go to Amazon to get them. So when they click Fast checkout, they're already logged in, they already have their profile information. They can buy in one click from any website, even if it's the very first time they've ever landed on that site. 

 

Domm [00:15:13] Once they've bought, then they get all of the great post-purchase experience all in one place. Track every delivery in one place, manage receipts, one-click reordering—everything that they could possibly want from post-purchase experience. So, it's a delightful and consistent experience across all merchants from both buying and post-purchase. And I think that that's really important. 

 

Kinsey [00:15:31] How does that tool foster a relationship with the retailer? Because from how I understand it, you could imagine it eroding that relationship if you have to spend less time interfacing with that retailer because of a tool like Fast. How do you focus on fostering a relationship? Because we have seen time and again that that's incredibly important for retailer success, especially right now. 

 

Domm [00:15:51] Yeah, completely. I think Fast absolutely sort of dominates in that space in terms of when you buy something, you're buying from the retailer site and we actually keep you on the retailer site. So, again, a normal checkout flow is you kind of go through some arduous flow that takes you, like, 10 minutes. Then you might use Apple Pay or something, and then you get to like this or the confirm screen saying like, all right, now leave, now leave our store. 

 

Domm [00:16:14] And for us, if you're looking at a pair of shoes, you click Fast checkout, you buy the pair of shoes instantly, you're still looking at a pair of shoes. We actually just leave you there on the merchant site. We keep you right within the merchant's environment, really a sort of critical differentiator. 

 

Domm [00:16:28] And then the post-purchase piece is about giving consumers a consistent experience in what is typically the worst part of their experience. So this is the sort of stuff that—merchants are already outsourcing all post-purchase. Typically to, like, a piecemeal number of companies, and it's just services that isn't a core business. The infrastructure isn't great. No one, no platform has really created sort of great infrastructure there. 

 

Domm [00:16:53] And they don't really want to manage it, so they outsource it. And that's why consumers get this crappy experience. So if you're returning something because the quality wasn't great or whatever else, that's really not a great part of the relationship that a merchant wants to deal [laughs] with, right? So we can provide a great experience there for consumers. 

 

Domm [00:17:13] That means that they don't have to have that poor experience associated with the brand. But any time that it comes to browsing, buying, being engaged with the brand, the merchant gets to build a direct relationship. They get your profile, they get your email, they get your contact details. All of those touchpoints that currently exist, we only strengthen. 

 

Domm [00:17:31] And again, we make it easy. They can buy from email. They can buy from SMS. They can buy from social channels. So, we just get out of the way, is our job. I mean, you can see, [indistinct] non-branded. Our logo is like plain text, we're black and white. We're designed to be in the background, not to take over. 

 

Kinsey [00:17:47] Yeah. That makes sense. All right. So, we are going to take a little break here, Domm. And when we come back, we're going to get a little bit of a better understanding of where this payments conversation and this identity conversation fits in with retail on the whole. But first, a short break to hear from our partner. —

 

Kinsey [00:18:06] And now back to the conversation with Domm Holland. So, Domm, can you give me a little bit of more context here on where ecommerce is fitting into the broader retail landscape right now? Do you think that with your experience building Fast, that our relationship with ecommerce as we buy things has changed in the last, let's say, year or so? And how so? 

 

Domm [00:18:27] Yeah. I honestly think we're at the point now where it's the complete opposite of that statement. We're all wondering how retail fits into the broader commerce, right? Ecommerce is—there is no questioning ecommerce is gonna be the primary driver of commerce moving forward. 

 

Domm [00:18:45] And so, how does retail stores fit into that? Are mom-and-pop shops gone or big box retailers gone? Or is their footprint tiny? Are they used just as like, logistics hubs, or are they going to be used just as like, bespoke boutique centers to maybe like, see interesting items and try and spur engagement? I think they're the questions that we don't know. 

 

Domm [00:19:06] What we absolutely know is that everything is going to be sold online. And the primary driver for purchases moving forward is going to be online. And, you know, logistics needs to really kind of rethink how we make that work. And maybe, and again, maybe that's where retail fits in. 

 

Domm [00:19:21] But I think, yeah, the U.K. is going to a complete lockdown. Everything shut again. I mean, at the busiest part of the year, every U.K. retailer in the world right now is relooking at their ecommerce strategy for this period, going is it strong enough? I think every retailer in the world in general is doing that. But, yeah, I think what is completely unknown is how retail works moving forward. 

 

Kinsey [00:19:45] That's such an interesting way of reframing the way we interpret retail, because I think we're often taught that it's bricks-and-mortar first and then we'll move into ecom. And we see time and again that that's not how the most innovative companies are doing things, whether it's D2C or these retail experiences that are just experiences. You're not even—they don't even want you to buy anything when [laughs] they go into a physical location. 

 

Kinsey [00:20:08] This is all changing tremendously. My question is, how come the in-person retail experience, like we were talking about earlier, is so seamless and the ecom experience isn't? How come that innovation hasn't kept up online in ways that it has in person? 

 

Domm [00:20:22] We were busy working on other things, but we're here now. [laughter] So, you know, 10 years ago, if we set out to build Fast, the first thing we would have to build is Stripe. I really believe that, like, the payment infrastructure just wasn't there. And so that infrastructure is there now. So now we can build Fast. We don't have to build Stripe. 

 

Domm [00:20:40] First we partnered with Stripe and now we build the front-end side. I think that is a large component. The volume of websites we use increases by like 20, 25% year on year for people. And this is all types of websites, not just ecommerce, but ecommerce is a large component. The password problem is because we have something like 500 sites that we use and it's grown by 20% year on year. It hasn't kept up. 

 

Domm [00:21:02] The fact of consumers having all of these relationships with this many number of businesses, websites, whatever else, just wasn't comprehended when they invented passwords in 1960 or, you know, when the internet really came to flourish. And so the reality is, it's just missing this identity. And every year, it becomes more painful. 

 

Domm [00:21:21] The experience becomes worse for us because we're dealing with more and more places that have siloed versions of our data and need to create siloed versions of our data. We're just at a precipice now. It just doesn't work. And when you're looking at abandonment rates of 80, 85% at a cart level, it's like phenomenal. Consumers are literally just leaving. 

 

Domm [00:21:39] And so I think it's really clear that we're just at a point that it just has to be simple, it has to be easier. But everyone has been focused on this core payment issue, right? It's like, well, we've got a million credit card tokens, so we just let people use that credit card token again. But it's like, that's not the whole problem here. It's a full identity issue for consumers. And the fact of whether they articulate like that or not is irrelevant. 

 

Kinsey [00:22:04] Yeah. This 80% abandonment rate is something I keep coming back to because it literally is just money being left on the table for these retailers, money that they could [chuckles] count and, certainly right now more than ever, need. And if they have the tools to innovate, to solve this identity problem, to offer the tools that the consumers need to make that experience more seamless, make it a lot easier, they could then theoretically flourish. 

 

Kinsey [00:22:27] But I wonder if there is this sort of divide between the retailers who can be a strong ecom presence, like, for example, in the U.K. Every retailer's thinking of it, but can every retailer actually execute on it? Do they have the tools that they need to be innovative? To offer these tech tools that maybe their bigger competitors do? Are we gonna see this bifurcation of the retail industry? 

 

Domm [00:22:50] This is why Fast flourishes—is that we build the integrations to make this available to all—it's democratized access to these tools for retailers. It's not just Amazon that can have this functionality now. It's every retailer and of every size. If you're a store doing $10,000 dollars a year online, you can get it, and you can use it in the same way that a store that is doing hundreds of millions or billions of dollars can use it. 

 

Domm [00:23:13] Yeah, I think that's a really huge component. The example I give all the time is we're going up against people like Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal. But the reality is, I actually think that there's a huge, incredibly huge market that we don't have to compete with them and we can still grow an incredibly large business. Now, don't get me wrong, because I'm more than happy to compete with them as well, and we do. 

 

Domm [00:23:35] But aside from when we compete with them, you know, imagine you're in middle America and you own a hardware store, it's been going for 15 years, but you also sell things online. You built your website eight years ago or something like that. Now, you don't have Apple Pay because you're running a hardware store every day. You don't have [indistinct]. You had an admin person who set it up for you a while ago. And it's kind of sat there in the background. You get a few orders a day. 

 

Domm [00:24:01] You're not installing Apple Pay because it's not top of mind for you. It's not like something that you're working on. And Apple isn't hiring 10,000 sales reps to go and call every business and say, hey, would you like [indistinct] Apple Pay? Let me walk you through the process. Let me install it for you. Like, they're just never doing that. 

 

Domm [00:24:16] So there's a whole segment of business that has typically missed any generation of technology or poorly applied any generation of technology, because who is coming to them to help them with that process? And, you know, it's hard for small businesses in the grind, day in and day out, to be really strategic about thinking what are my key objectives of the year ahead. Like, installing Apple Pay isn't one of them. 

 

Domm [00:24:37] And so for us, this is where there is a huge area for us to concentrate on—businesses that don't have—like, have the worst experiences. And the ironic thing is it's typically like very small traditional retailers, not necessarily brand-new [indistinct] who are using the latest stack. And they've got everything. 

 

Domm [00:24:56] But it's like old, traditional merchants that just haven't got best-of-breed technology set up, haven't updated their website in a long time. And then the largest enterprise, where it's slow to adopt, it's really expensive, and really cumbersome to integrate new technology. Plus, you know, it takes dozens of internal teams to agree to anything. And so it's just difficult for them as well. 

 

Domm [00:25:19] So you kind of have like both really traditional businesses on either end of the spectrum, where adoption is fairly slow. I do think that COVID is an incredible forcing function for changing that. It's not just about the market size getting bigger. It's about if you're a large enterprise, and ecommerce was 8% of your yearly revenues and now it's 40%, then the way that you view ecommerce is completely different. 

 

Domm [00:25:42] You're reorganizing your whole organization around ecommerce. And looking at things and going, all right, we've known for years it was a terrible checkout, but if 40% of our business is coming from ecommerce, what happens if they all start shopping somewhere else? 40% of our business is gone. And this is a lot different to 8% of your business being at risk. And so I think you will see enterprises opting Fast at a rate that enterprises never adopted other technology before over the next 12 months. 

 

Kinsey [00:26:10] Yeah. It's so fun for me to see this sort of cabal of innovators and retailers and any number of third-party, like operators within the retail space taking on Amazon in these weird ways that you maybe didn't see coming. But at the end of the day, it's cool to see, you know, like camaraderie [laughs] in retail. And I think especially right now with COVID-19, and the recession, and the enormous changes that have been at play in retail and in ecommerce, more specifically. 

 

Kinsey [00:26:39] It's nice to see that there is a way for everybody to kind of come out on top. And in some ways, Fast itself has most certainly come out on top in a lot of ways during COVID. You have a lot of momentum right now. Do you think that that would have persisted had this pandemic and ensuing recession not happened? Like if these behavior changes had not happened, how do you see a different future for Fast? 

 

Domm [00:27:04] Yeah, 100%. I really do think it hasn't actually altered our trajectory at all to date. I know it sounds funny, but I think next year we will see tremendous amounts of growth off the back of sort of a changing world in relation to COVID. The enterprise space is where we will see that. The shift in volume to ecommerce for enterprise retailers, and it happening so fast, has just caused an entire industry to put off every single non-ecommerce-related project as a business and suddenly turn the whole business around to focusing on ecommerce. 

 

Domm [00:27:39] And one of the most—we started the conversation about it—one of the most critical parts of buying something is buying it. And so if you're a retailer selling things online, the process of how the person buys from you is probably the most critical part of that experience. And if that's bad, if that's poor, if that's slow, low sales. Right. And that's just proven. And so, retailers need to have best-of-breed technology. 

 

Domm [00:28:02] How do we go from the worst experience or a terrible experience to the best, the fastest, the easiest experience for our consumers. That's where Fast excels. We're the number one solution there. So I think that next year we see just incredible amounts of enterprise adoption at a pace that we just couldn't have done before. 

 

Domm [00:28:18] Like where before, enterprise would still just take far more time to make a decision. They understand that it's important, but it's not as much of a business that relies on it. Now, it's like mission-critical that they get this right and that they choose the right software and the right tools. And they have to do it quickly, because they don't want to miss out on this shift to online. So, yeah, I think that next year we see a big velocity change. 

 

Kinsey [00:28:43] All right. So that's Fast's future. We're going to take a short break to hear from our partner. And when we come back, we'll talk about ecom's future a little bit more broadly. —

 

Kinsey [00:28:53] And now back to the conversation with Domm Holland. So, Domm, a lot of what we've been talking about today is innovation that is long overdue within the ecommerce space. When you look to the future of the retail industry on the broad scale here, who do you think owns the future of retail? What gives you the most optimism? Where do you think that the most innovation is happening? 

 

Domm [00:29:12] Right now, I think headless ecommerce is where it's at. And again, this is about us—retailers, brands, people, humanity—having more control and being able to offer more bespoke, amazing experiences. The experience before—you'd walk into a store and it would smell amazing and it would have an amazing sort of assortment of products to the way that I present it is incredible. 

 

Domm [00:29:36] That now is going to be an online experience. So we don't have smell, but everything else can be unique. And so giving merchants the ability to sort of present in more interesting ways, to be more creative, to have full control artistically of what they're doing, I think is sort of the way ecommerce is coming. 

 

Domm [00:29:56] And again, somebody who's an artistic person who's come out with a great brand for selling jewelry or something like that—they shouldn't have to, and they don't want to, spend their time trying to work out how to optimize checkout. That should just be an easy thing. And I think that headless ecommerce goes a long way of making the delightfully Fast experiences, letting the consumer buy from a whole variety of channels. 

 

Domm [00:30:18] If they want one-click checkout from the company's Twitter account, if they want to buy from email, whatever it is, I think that that's a big component. And moving away from the sort of dominating platforms that control every interaction to force you into using very specific, whether it's Amazon, this marketplace that you don't know your customers, you don't know who bought your product, whether it's Shopify that, like, owns this very static, defined, checkout that you can't control at all as a big brand. 

 

Domm [00:30:44] That's a huge risk. So I think that that's a really big part of retail moving forward. And then secondly, logistics, I think logistics just is a huge base [laughs] that is ripe for disruption. 

 

Kinsey [00:31:00] That makes perfect sense. One other thing that you brought up before that I think is interesting to think about is the ways that retailers are going to create these very highly differentiated and highly bespoke experiences in a purely online setting. Obviously, we are trying to make things easier for people to get them to buy more things and to have a more simplified process and streamlined process. 

 

Kinsey [00:31:21] But, I think there's also room to go beyond that. Once a tool like Fast is widely adopted by retailers everywhere, what's the next step in creating that bespoke process and that differentiated process for going to an online store and feeling like you're getting a highly tailored experience that you would previously really only get in IRL [chuckles] experience with retail in a bricks-and-mortar store? 

 

Domm [00:31:43] Yes. So one of the things that we're bringing out of Fast that I'm always most excited about—and the team will probably kill me for talking about it—but it's called reorder. So, if you buy something using Fast checkout, you can go to Fast, see your previous orders, and go there and click one-click reorder. So we already have that. It's not like a remarkable feature. It's a great feature, but not remarkable. 

 

Domm [00:32:03] What I think is amazing is having everyday products that we can have a code on so you can just scan the code and instantly buy the product. And so it could be that you bought the product before, say you bought shampoo online, you bought shampoo in your local store, or whatever, and then you scan the code and another one will come into my [indistinct]. That's a great product. 

 

Domm [00:32:23] And we can have that on every single product in your bathroom, in your kitchen. You know, run out of ketchup, scan it, and have more come. It is the fastest, best, easiest, most incredible way to buy things, everyday things. But on top of that, I really sort of got a lot of inspiration from my wife when we went to someone's house and she walked out of the bathroom and said, oh my God, the hand soap smells amazing. 

 

Domm [00:32:47] And like it was literally, she had taken a photo of the hand soap, went home, and Googled the name of the company. And then went and bought this hand soap online. And I think that a lot of people have got similar experiences like this. And I think my wife definitely has a fixation on hand soaps, but [Kinsey laughs] different things we all like and want to see. 

 

Domm [00:33:06] And imagine if that had a code on the back, you could just scan the code and instantly buy that. Again, it skips this whole process. So we can't envision every scenario. But what I love is the idea of us making it so easy for people to form connections with brands. And this isn't just about buying the hand soap. It's about how does that brand actually connect with the perfect customer? 

 

Domm [00:33:28] Like, you think about the experience. You had to take a photo of a product, and then go home, Google the name of the company, try and find a company—a site—that sells that product, or maybe the product sells itself. Then go to the website, then try and find that product on the website. Like, it's a terrible process. Google is showing you ads to competitors all the way through. 

 

Kinsey [00:33:47] Yeah. 

 

Domm [00:33:47] Amazon is showing you ads to competitors, their own product. Like different, cheaper prices. So it is unlikely that that single brand could have actually formed that connection directly. It's highly unlikely. Yet, at the point that she smelled it, loved it, wanted the product, give her the ability to instantly buy the product. And then, now the brand's got a connection with you. Now the brand can communicate to you. Now, the brand can follow up. Now they can send you more product. 

 

Kinsey [00:34:12] Yeah. It would be incredible. We've all done it before, you know, like everybody has on their camera roll at some point a picture of something that they liked, they wanted to buy, that they tried to go home and find online. And I was just thinking, while you were explaining that example, of the last product that I remember having a picture of on my phone and I took it last night. 

 

Kinsey [00:34:28] It's like a foot peeling mask thing that I saw in TikTok. And I was thinking, social commerce. This feels so ripe for something like Fast to come in and just add, instead of like they have the, what, the share buttons or SMS and send on TikTok, share to Twitter, buy with Fast. 

 

Domm [00:34:45] Exactly. Yeah, it's coming, coming. Very soon. 

 

Kinsey [00:34:48] [laughs] It's coming. That is coming. All right. So, Domm, I have asked you a ton of questions here and you have absolutely delivered and given us so much insight on the ecommerce space and retail more broadly. Domm, thank you so much for taking the time to come on Business Casual today. 

 

Kinsey [00:35:01] It's fun to kind of pick apart an industry like ecommerce and get into the weeds on something as specific as payments, and realize just how prevalent and how vital it is to the health of this much broader industry. So I really appreciate you taking the time to walk us through all of this. I had a fantastic time speaking with you, and I'm really grateful that you stopped by. 

 

Domm [00:35:20] Thanks so much for having me. I had a great time too. 

 

Kinsey [00:35:29] Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Business Casual. Right now is the time of year to practice gratitude, and we can and should do it even with the twists and turns that this year has handed us. I am so grateful for all of you and your willingness to spend time with our team every week. You mean the world to us here at Business Casual, and we can't wait to keep making great content for you. See you next time. [sound of a ding]