As brands look to go beyond using social media to collect fans and likes, and more towards driving revenue and real customer engagement, they will need tools and platforms that make the transformation more efficient. ShopIgniter has built a platform specifically to help brands and retailers promote and sell products using social media.
Founded in 2009, ShopIgniter focuses their business on helping brands solve the purchasing gap – the space between using content to build loyalty and mind share, and generating revenue and market share. The Portland, Oregon based company has 35 employees, with sales offices in San Francisco. The executive team’s combined experience includes decades of ecommerce and social media experience, and their advisory board includes executives at Facebook, Zynga and Razorfish. ShopIgniter also has raised $11.5M over two rounds of funding from Madrona Venture Group and Trinity Ventures.
Knowing that many on social sites aren’t there to shop, and many shopping for products aren’t primarily interested in sharing what they buy, ShopIgniter has created a social commerce platform aimed at helping brands use social media to get people engaged with their products, as opposed to engaged with marketing campaigns.
The ShopIgniter Social Promotion Commerce Suite includes the following key pieces:
Promoter: WYSIWIG editor for creating rich content
- Create Facebook Timeline Gallery Posts
Create branded product Pins in Pinterest from asset library
- Includes trackable Links
Create product posts with images in Twitter using Cards API
- Publish Social Experiences
- Select a template and channels to push out to social/mobile customers
- Associate products with experiences and assign rules/pricing
- Uses Facebook Open Graph for frictionless sharing
- When friends can see customer viewing a product they either explicitly or automatically share these actions with their friend
- Use network affect with Facebook to reach a wider audience
- Manages integration with the shopping cart
- Provides dashboard reporting for measuring engagement, amplification and conversion
Social Commerce Platform Foundation
- Built with Amazon Web Service
- PCI-Level 1 Security
- CRM Integration
- Order Management Integration
- Email Integration
When it comes to the actual sales transaction, ShopIgniter can take the whole transaction and extend the order to a fulfillment provider as part of the social commerce platform by:
- Integrating with payment gateway
- Integrating with the fulfillment provider
- Taking the transaction and credit card
- Sending the order information to customer’s fulfillment provider
- ShopIgniter has commerce tools to manage the orders
ShopIgniter can also stop at the cart if a customer wants to handle processing the transaction:
- SI can persist the cart and the wishlist
- When customer views their cart they actually see it in SI
- When customer clicks checkout SI bundles up the cart and sends it to the customer’s persistent ecommerce cart, they see the last page of their checkout in SI customer’s own system
This approach allows SI flexibility to provide whatever level of service is needed by their customers.
Customers use the platform in two main ways:
- Setup fee of $5 - $15k
- 2-5k/ month for licensing
- Social App, Microsite
- 2-3 month engagement
Platform for Social Promotion and Commerce
- Smaller annual customers typically range from $120 - $150K a year
- Larger customer - $250K and up
ShopIgniter says their customers are seeing measurable ROI benefits from using their platform and services to create more convertible social product experiences:
- Up to 75% of experience audience participating vs. avg Facebook post engagement of .11% for Retailers
- 2.5 stories and shares generated per user vs. share button Product Pages, only .36% have even 1 like
- Up to 28% conversion rate for products sold via social showcase vs. avg conversion rate of .6% for Facebook & .4% for Pinterest linking straight to a .com.
ShopIgniter has 25 active customers, but 50 companies have used their service at some point in time – included in these numbers are brands like Nike, Levi’s, Disney and Target. About half of SI’s customer’s administer the platform on their own, while the other half has SI manage administration for them.
ShopIgniter has put together an impressive platform aimed at helping brands create more compelling experiences that help connect social content to sales conversions and meaningful customer engagement. They have a unique offering that ties social media to product sales in a more direct manner. And they’ve created flexibility in how customers can use the platform, as well as the services they can have SI perform for them. With their ability to provide a social commerce platform and experience design expertise giving them a unique ability to act as agencies, SI doesn’t appear to have direct competitors at this time. But we feel it’s just a matter of time before others enter this hot market. However we think ShopIgniter has the right mix of platform and domain experience to make it difficult for companies to catch up to what they’re doing. We believe they will have the resources at their disposal to build on the lead they have. It will be interesting to see what direction they take their platform.
Reviewed by CRM Idol 2012 Primary Judges
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