Tools from Moltin enable a better online shopping experience

Working together at a digital marketing agency in the United Kingdom, three developers encountered a classic innovators’ dilemma: Their clients had plenty of great ideas when it came to creating compelling digital experiences, but they were constrained by the technologies available. The traditional ecommerce platforms already on the market just weren’t doing the trick and the developers knew there had to be a better way.

“We started Moltin with a simple vision,” says Greg Lord, the firm’s vice president of marketing. “To simplify the complexity of delivering digital commerce experiences and to empower developers with the tools they need to have the control to very quickly and easily build next-generation, modern, digital retail experiences.”

Lord describes Moltin as a lightweight ecommerce service that gives retailers the tools necessary to maintain an edge in today’s competitive landscape. “We have a microservices-based approach to delivering the capability that any brand would need to build and deliver the type of digital experience they want,” he says. The possibilities range from Alexa and Google system integrations to embedding commerce into digital media and advertising.

Shopkit is just one of the reference applications built by Moltin. Part of a suite of off-the-shelf systems a retailer can deploy quickly, Shopkit is an embeddable online shopping cart that solves the challenges of using content sites as part of a campaign or promotion.

“Retailers were struggling to make those sites commercial,” Lord says. One workaround to the problem entailed embedding redirects into the content sites, but that approach results in a disruptive experience as customers are shuffled around to complete their purchases.

“With Shopkit, you can embed the commerce transaction without a redirect, so shoppers can complete the entire transaction on that content site,” Lord says. Shopkit keeps full administrative control over the experience with the retailers, enabling them to cleanly capture emails and support loyalty programs, for example.

The Moltin team frequently sees organizations struggle to develop digital strategies around commerce, something Shopkit and their other reference applications help to address. “Sometimes it’s about the art of what’s possible in terms of being able to do anything with a service,” Lord says. He points to the past as an example of how far there still is to go in digital commerce: Over the past decade or more, the industry hasn’t really done much to evolve the process, other than shifting the traditional consumer journey onto a browser. The classic funnel is still the norm, with retailers attracting customers and bringing them to a dedicated website where they shop for products, add them to the cart and complete the transaction.

“It’s a process where you’re pulling the consumer through,” Lord says, “versus taking the commerce transaction and bringing it to the consumer.”

Moltin sees a future where its microservices enable brands to embed the commerce experience where customers already are through voice devices like Alexa and social media channels, content sites and smart-home devices like refrigerators and thermostats, Lord says. “All of those touchpoints would be a logical place for someone to want to have a commerce transaction.”

In addition, he says there are opportunities for retailers to make better use of traditional websites, too. In an era where differentiation is a top priority, brands can find it difficult to make their digital presence stand out from the crowd. “We’re providing the building blocks to enable them to deliver a website experience that’s different and unique, and that will delight consumers.”

Julie Knudson is a freelance business writer who focuses on retail, hospitality and technology.

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