Today, the NYTimes wrote a hit piece on Bolt. The part they missed: everything about our business. Here’s why Bolt is going to win:
And so, we have Commerce 1.0: the Monolith > Price economies of scale > Tech economies of scale > Data moat > Great consumer experience All on one domain, Amazon.com
Then shopping carts sprung up to enable commerce for independent brands. One took off the most: Shopify. Why did they take off ahead of all the others? They were the most Centralized approach to Independent commerce.
The commerce enablement ecosystem was nascent and struggling. Shopify’s centralized approach allowed them to centralize tech, data, and the consumer experience. This allowed them to get ahead of anyone else in terms of functionality.
And so, we have Commerce 2.0: the Monolith Tech Platform > Tech economies of scale > Data moat > Great consumer experience All on one fully enclosed platform, Shopify.
The problem: over-centralization. The incentives became misaligned with the two parties most important to them. 1/ Merchants felt locked-in and trapped 2/ Developers and tech partners would get eaten
~ Fast-forwarding to commerce today ~ Today there is a renaissance of commerce enablers. Post-covid, investors realized more than ever that commerce is a massive opportunity. Commerce enablers started to attract massive amounts of funding.
There are now world-class companies tackling almost every layer of the commerce stack. These enablers can do things far better than the Monoliths because it’s all they live and breathe. The non-Shopify carts are also making great strides. All the tools are catching up.
However, without Bolt there remain two show-stopper problems: 1/ No one-click network of shoppers 2/ No easy way to integrate new tools into checkout These 10X problems hold back consumers from shopping, and merchants from innovating.
The shopping carts are doing too much to also solve these problems. We wrote a manifesto on this two years ago, discussing how Bolt’s checkout is the “missing platform” in commerce:
And so today, we have something beautiful happening: 1/ Shopping carts provide the core commerce functionality. 2/ Bolt provides the headless checkout and one-click network. 3/ Commerce enablers providing everything else.
This is Commerce 3.0 > Tech economies of scale > Data moat > Great consumer experience All via an Ecosystem
An open ecosystem that brings everyone together is far more powerful than any centralized monolith. As @KuruvillaMaju, Bolt’s CEO, says: “I spent nearly a decade centralizing commerce. But now it’s clear that the next step is decentralization”
Even Amazon is realizing that the end of shopping on Amazon .com might be near. Recently they decided to democratize access to Prime Fulfillment for off-site, independent merchants:
theverge.com Amazon will let merchants sell goods with Prime benefits on their own sites
Prime subscriptions benefits are moving beyond Amazon.com
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This is great news for Bolt and the Commerce 3.0 ecosystem. And bad news for Shopify and the Commerce 2.0 monolith. In Commerce 3.0, anyone who brings something beneficial to independent merchants is helpful. That is the power of an Ecosystem.
~ So, why is Bolt going to win? ~ The world is now ready for Commerce 3.0. Commerce 3.0 needs Bolt. Bolt is truly one of a kind
See more from Bolt’s CEO here:
Fearlessly Building Bolt’s One-Click Checkout
Bolt now boasts 13.8M total Bolt shopper accounts and 836 total Bolt active merchant accounts across all product lines.
Finally, we have a once-in-a-lifetime team, building together, and bridging execution with humanity. We’ve inspired 180 other companies to build consciously too. If you’d like to see what Conscious Culture is all about, visit
Conscious Culture | Bridging Humanity with Execution
The Bolt team has worked tirelessly to create a culture that bridges humanity with execution. Browse the full Conscious Culture Playbook here
Our mission is simple: Level the playing field and democratize the commerce experience. Instant & seamless commerce where the smallest mom & pop brands have the same advantages as Amazon .com. Nobody – and especially not the NYTimes – is going to get in the way of that.
~ For further reading ~ The actual reasons why Fast (a Stripe-funded copycat of ours) failed:
The ACTUAL reasons why Fast failed
The mistakes we made while building Bolt:
ALL companies, large and small, are messy. Like, REALLY messy. And we all learn WAY more from sharing the mess than the success. Yet so few do. Here’s our TOP 10 mistakes at Bolt over the last eight years, and our learnings from each one:
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