VendorShop Social, a leading social commerce software company, has secured investment funding of €400,000 ($515,000) to fuel its expansion plans.
“With our VendorShop software, we’ve established ourselves as one of the leading providers of Facebook store solutions for merchants and the funding is all about positioning ourselves for growth,” said VendorShop Social co-founder and CEO Chris Small.
Small added, “Technology is one of the bright spots of the Irish economy and companies like us are bucking the gloom.”
The Dublin-based company has sourced the funding from government agency Enterprise Ireland and two private investors. The company is expecting to grow the team to 10 people over the next 12 months and to double that within two years.
“We have developed a good understanding of how Facebook commerce works and we need to build that insight into our product. The money will allow us to achieve this goal by expanding the development team and enhancing our sales and marketing resources.” Small said.
The company is considering raising additional funds during 2012 to enable the business to scale more quickly. The goal would be to establish a significant presence in the United States and open a sales office in Australia.
“The VendorShop solution is already used by retailers in more than 15 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong,” Small said. “Getting closer to these markets by having a presence on the ground would be a great benefit to us.”
VendorShop Social powers thousands of Facebook stores with their VendorShop shopping cart software. It allows merchants to promote and sell their products directly from their Facebook page without redirecting customers to another website. The shopping cart also carries the McAfee Secure and VeriSign Trust marks of security and includes a range of powerful social shopping features such as allowing the retailer to offer discounts to customers who like their page or share products with their friends.
“Successful F-commerce is all about rewarding your best customers and showing them how much they are valued with exclusive offers and discounts,” Small said.
“For example, a fashion retailer might offer an exclusive discount or launch its new-season range initially to its Facebook fans. Imagine how powerful that is in creating brand advocates for a business. Not only will the business generate significant sales on Facebook but the person will also likely tell their many friends who will end up buying themselves via Facebook and other channels as well.”
Examples of how retail brands are using VendorShop include:
- Wine Market, a wine warehouse in Australia with an e-commerce enabled website as well as a Facebook store with 10,000 page likes, had sales of more than $AUS20,000 purely through its Facebook store in November 2011, with the trend continuing into December.
- Rabia Z, a fashion retailer in Dubai with 20,000 page likes, uses VendorShop as a pop-up store solution – meaning that Facebook fans can access an exclusive range for a limited time. In October the brand launched its autumn-winter range on Facebook and did $US30,000 in sales on the social networking site in just a few weeks. The retailer also saw an increase in customer traffic to its studio.
- Chile Monster in New Mexico, USA, launched exclusively on Facebook 12 months ago and now has nearly 20,000 fans. The VendorShop store has been so successful, the business hasn’t seen any need for a traditional web-based e-commerce store.