Social commerce spotlight: Soldsie’s $1 million funding highlights need for f-commerce innovation
E-commerce start up Soldsie, which announced in January that it had raised $425,000 through the FundersClub, has now closed its full seed round of outside funding having secured $1 million in investment.
But where it is succeeding, others are failing. Payvment announced last month that it was closing after nearly three and a half years of powering Facebook storefronts, and Yardsellr, the ‘eBay for Facebook’ is now in the process of closing its operations, despite raising $5 million back in 2010.
So what makes Soldsie likely to succeed on the rocky road of f-commerce? Last September we discussed its innovative sales approach, which sees brand and retailer fans able to purchase items simply by typing ‘sold’ in the comments beneath a product. Now, the platform sees over one million transactions per month, and the goods on offer have expanded beyond kids’ clothing and accessories to include fashion and interiors.
No doubt Soldsie can rely on people’s penchant for an impulse buy to boost the bottom line, but the real key is innovation. As co-founder Chris Bennett tells TechCrunch: “Social commerce isn’t as easy as just putting a buy button in a post on Facebook or a link on Twitter. Social commerce has to be rethought to be more social. By doing what we’re doing – letting people leave comments to make purchases – we’re tying the two together. It actually works the way Facebook works.”
And this approach is being replicated elsewhere. Take Amex’s ‘pay per tweet’ service, for example. Like Soldsie, the purchasing process is inherently social. Consumers have to undertake a social action in order to make the purchase. Traditional f-commerce – the ‘buy button’ kind that Bennett highlights – involves actions external to the ‘being social’ process.
Industry bods have long-speculated about this ‘external’ dynamic, with many deeming it a certain failure. People visit social networks to be social, after all. Not as a gateway to an activity they can easily undertake elsewhere. Soldsie and Amex, however, keep social shopping fundamentally social, and their success suggests that this approach is the glimmer of hope f-commerce has been waiting for.