For more than a decade, Amazon’s one-click–checkout feature gave it an edge over other online retailers by eliminating the hassle of reentering passwords and payment information. Then four years ago, the patent for that process expired. That has opened the door to a cluster of startups that have developed similar technology for online businesses.
Companies that sell one-click–checkout technology—notably Bolt and Fast—have attracted a total of nearly $700 million in funding from investors. Venture capitalists have been encouraged by the pandemic-fueled spike in online shopping and the success of $191 billion market cap Shopify, whose subscription services enable merchants to sell online.
The startups’ recently enlarged bank accounts will be necessary. They are competing fiercely to sign up those merchants not already locked into Shopify’s e-commerce network or committed to selling only through Amazon’s third-party marketplace. The startups also face a looming threat from Stripe, Google and Apple, which could push their own easy-checkout options more aggressively.