Forever 21’s CMO on the brand’s one-click strategy

The brand has partnered with fintech company Bolt to revamp its e-commerce strategy and make it easier for customers to checkout.
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Forever 21/Bolt

· 3 min read

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Forever21 is bolting away from its old ways to embrace a new online checkout technology through a partnership with fintech company Bolt.

The key piece of the tech is a one-click checkout solution that allows its online customers to skip certain steps and check out with, well…one click.

“If you look at a normal checkout, you go into your cart, create an account, a username and password, and once you do that, you then have to go through and fill out the steps,” Jacob Hawkins, chief marketing, digital, and omni officer at Forever 21, told Retail Brew. “It ends up being a five-step process. The nice piece with this is literally you go on…you’ve already created all your information there. You select your ship, [and] your default billing information pops up, and you’re right through it in one click. So it just abbreviates the process dramatically.”

  • Hawkins also told us the checkout rate for a Bolt account was 63% compared to a 40% checkout rate for a guest account.

“The other piece that we love is….[our customer] can check out and actually see 43 seconds off of the checkout time, which is just an eternity score for our customers,” he explained.

A key factor that prompted Forever21 to revamp its e-commerce strategy was “customer centricity” for its core customer base: Gen Z. “We have to make it easy for them to find it and purchase it, so just as we were looking at, ‘How do we speed up the process…once they found [the product]? How do we help them purchase it?’” Hawkins said.

Hawkins declined to disclose the impact on online revenue, but said it was “significant.”

Upcoming: Beyond the one-click checkout, the retailer will likely continue to integrate newer tech to be more “omni-focused,” connecting the “the online to the offline,” Hawkins told us.

  • Currently, its online shoppers account for 20% of its total customer base, while in-store shoppers make up 80%, per Hawkins.

But Forever 21 aims to grow the online percentage drastically in the future. “We’re really omni-focused,” Hawkins said. “We have local inventory and stores, we have a wonderful mobile app that a lot of our customers have downloaded, and we have a website—and we’re integrating all those together.”In 2022, the brand also rolled out its buy online, pickup in-store feature. And plans to grow it “dramatically” in 2023, he said.

Ultimately, all these developments are to meet the brand’s one main goal as it moves forward. “It’s [about making] it as easy as possible for a customer to shop when she wants, where she wants, how she wants,” Hawkins said.—JS

Update 2/2/23: This story has been updated to more accurately reflect a quote.

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