Cosmic Cart Simplifies Affiliate Links For Publishers To Make Their Web Sites Shoppable

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For many fashion and lifestyle websites, a key source of revenue comes through affiliate links which readers can click through and purchase items that are featured. Frequently though, those links are time-consuming to add and usually end up sending the reader to another website to actually make a purchase.

Cosmic Cart, which is launching today as part of the Disrupt NY Startup Battlefield, wants to make shopping on sites easier both for the publisher and for the reader.

It does this by giving publishers a drop-dead simple tool for adding items that can be purchased online. And for readers, it embeds the shopping cart and purchasing flow directly on the publisher site, so there’s no clicking through to other websites to actually make a purchase.

The main purpose behind Cosmic Cart is to make adding purchasable retail items ultra-simple for publishers. It’s meant to increase the speed with which they can add commerce to their sites, while also boosting conversions.

The first part of Cosmic Cart’s magic comes on the publisher side, where the company has built an easy tool for publishers to instantly tag items that are available for sale.

The technology can automatically scan the page and add items that are available for purchase through one of its retail partners. Cosmic Cart also has a browser extension that enables publishers to easily click on images, search and add items themselves.

For readers, Cosmic Cart also drastically simplifies the purchase process. Instead of being ushered to a retailer website, where you then have to add an item to a shopping cart, as well as fill out shipping and billing information before purchasing, Cosmic Cart puts a purchasing widget on the publisher’s page.

Once you’ve signed up, you can simply add an item to your cart and check out directly there. It can also save your information so you can make purchases from any Cosmic Cart-powered website without the hassle of filling forms out each time.

Shipping and fulfillment is ultimately handled by the retailer, but the entire process ends up being transparent to the user. In fact, customers can add multiple items to the cart from different retailers, but they won’t even know that at checkout.

By doing so, Cosmic Cart can massively increase the conversion rates for what used to be affiliate links to outside retailer sites. “We’re providing a better user experience,” Cosmic Cart CEO Alex Adelman said.

It also provides more data to retailers about what’s actually selling to consumers. By doing that, they can ensure that both sides know what’s popular and how to improve.

That’s got both retailers and publishers excited: On the retail side, Cosmic Cart has partnered with Target, Alternative Apparel, Zirna Zabete, Marissa Collections, Heels.com, Cooking.com, and Bags.com, among others. And publishers like Refinery 29, Federated Media, and Glam Media Mode Media have signed up.

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Questions & Answer With Judges

Q: Are you replacing affiliates?

A: We’re creating our own affiliate network.

Q: Brands don’t get a chance to be in front of a customer… They want people to end up on their site. They don’t want to give away that capability.

A: We were hearing that about two years ago. We designed our technology to highlight the retailer.

Q: Does this work in mobile?

A: Yes. We are very excited about mobile. Cosmic Cart is currently working with other apps and mobile sites to build out their mobile hosted cart solution.

Q: What kind of conversion rates?

A: We’re seeing 1.5x to 2x usual conversion rates.