Hollister Co., Abercrombie & Fitch Company

a retailer popular with teenagers is rolling out a new system that allows shoppers to transfer their shopping carts to someone else for a fee.

The system, called Share2Pay, aims to smooth out a common point of friction for Hollister’s online shoppers, most of whom the company says are still in high school. Teen customers who don’t have access to online payments or their own credit cards often load up their carts with products but refuse to buy them because the payer — usually a parent or guardian — isn’t in the room to veto , OK and buy goods for them.

“There was a lot of lost sales on the table,” said Sameer Desai, chief digital and technology officer at Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

Initially, the Share2Pay system will only be available to US and UK customers using the Hollister app. It allows shoppers to send their shopping carts to the end customer via text message instead of a traditional payment mechanism. Shoppers can remove or change the size and color of certain items before entering their card details to pay in the app.

Shoppers using the Share2Pay system can send their baskets to designated shoppers along with a note.


Hollister Co.

The technology comes after namesake brand Hollister and sister labels Gilly Hicks and Social Tourist combined reported a 15% year-over-year decline in sales for the quarter ended July 30. CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Fran Horowitz in August attributed the figures to inflationary pressures on the Hollister Group’s target audience, which leans toward the young and is at the lower end of the income scale compared to the Abercrombie division, which includes Abercrombie & The Fitch and Abercrombie Kids brands increased sales by 5%.

Share2Pay aims to encourage more Hollister customers to turn their tote bags into sales by removing a major barrier to payment — not having a credit card, Mr. Desai said.

“We are optimistic that inflation will start to come down a little bit, but we control what we can control, and the main thing we can control is our experience,” he said. Early tests of the system showed that customers in the pilot group were twice as likely to place an order as those who did not, he added.

Andrew Lipsman, principal analyst at retail and e-commerce research firm Insider Intelligence, is one of the biggest challenges in the e-commerce industry, particularly in the apparel sector.

Other companies are trying to convert more carts into sales by increasing consumer confidence in the purchase with improved return processes and ways to merchandise and describe products online, Mr. Lipsman said.

“There’s a huge delta between the amount of value that goes into the basket and the amount that ends up flowing through the bottom of the basket, in terms of sales,” he said. “Anybody looks at it and says, ‘Well, if I can solve this problem, I can really increase the growth rate.’

Other companies have tried to digitally replicate the actions of children asking their parents for cash at the mall.

Amazon.com Inc.

in 2017, it introduced Amazon Teen, which is aimed at kids between the ages of 13 and 17 who want to shop with their own logins. When they place an order, the platform sends a text or email to their parent or guardian, who can view the items and deselect them before signing up for the purchase. Parents can also set spending limits instead of approving each order individually. an apple Inc.

offers a feature called “Ask to Buy” that allows children in the Family Sharing group to request purchases of products online.

Not all such e-commerce offerings have survived. A spokesperson for toy retailer Camp NYC Inc. confirmed that the company had shut down its online store, Present Shop, which helped children as young as 3 shop online on a budget set by adults, but declined to comment on why. The closure comes less than 18 months after it introduced the platform.

Mr. Desai of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. called the in-house development of Share2Pay an example of the company’s efforts to operate in a sense as a technology company.

“We put everything in the hands of the customer and then we get feedback and iterate, rather than nine months in the lab and building something that’s going to be incredibly perfect,” Mr. Desai said. “We may have missed the boat on the customer experience at that point.”

Write Katie Deighton at katie.deighton@wsj.com

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