Fast Brings New Headless Checkout Capabilities to Live Events

Shopping carts, logins, and payment systems all slow shoppers down and create offramps in the online sales process. With the debut of new headless checkout capabilities, a startup called Fast is aiming to redefine the way people shop and buy things online.

“Headless checkout is a revolutionary way of buying and selling online — it meets consumers at the moment of inspiration and removes the friction in purchasing,” says Calanthia Mei, vice president and head of partnerships at Fast. 

A privately held startup funded by the payments giant Stripe, as well as Addition, Index Ventures, Susa Ventures, and Sugar Capital, Fast is working to make a name for itself in the e-commerce space. Its headless checkout system separates the purchasing and payments experience from online stores, allowing buyers to make purchases from almost anywhere. 

Buyers can purchase a seller’s product in one click, directly from a Fast Checkout button on a review page, an email, or another digital avenue. That means Fast’s new headless checkout system could be a big payday for certain digital publishers and bloggers as well as live events.

A new partnership between Fast, Vinik Sports Group, and the Tampa Bay Lightning means Fast will be equipping 10,000 cup holders in Amalie Arena with QR codes that fans will be able to scan if they want to purchase merchandise instantly from their seats.

“Fast is redefining the fan experience with headless checkout,” Mei says. “Fans don’t have to leave their seat to purchase merchandise at a game or concert. By scanning a QR code on a cup holder or on the jumbotron, fans can immediately purchase merchandise via Fast Checkout and pick it up on their way out. … The possibilities for headless checkout are endless at live events.”

Fast’s headless checkout technology can also be used to make TV shoppable. By adding QR codes within ads on select networks and content provider apps, Fast is making it possible for companies like Gerard Cosmetics and others to instantly sell items to consumers through TV. 

Fast was founded in 2019 as an alternative to e-commerce checkout experiences that require payment details and passwords, elongating the path to purchase.

The Pandemic’s Influence

Research from McKinsey shows that the Covid-19 pandemic spurred a global shift in purchasing habits, with 65% of people trying new forms of commerce. The first half of 2020 saw more growth in online commerce than in the previous decade, and e-commerce innovations emerged that let people buy what they wanted when they wanted it. Mei says headless checkout is at the forefront of those innovations, offering merchants a way to sell products instantly through the online and mobile advertising channels on which they already rely. 

Fast is also working with digital publishers like Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn to incorporate headless checkout into select branded content features so readers can stay on the article they’re reading while they make a purchase and advertisers can generate revenue by removing friction from website redirects.

“The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated online shopping, and consumer expectations on the checkout experience have increased as a result. This spurred a global shift in purchasing habits,” Mei says. “Fast answered the call to make it easier for consumers to purchase instantly, anywhere with headless checkout.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

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