The tide of capital continues to roll into online commerce. 8thBridge is a startup business in Minneapolis that helps merchants reach more customers by using Facebook. The company recently raised $10,000,000 in a new round of funding. This follows $5,000,000 obtained in 2010. Angel investors originally financed the new corporation in 2009 with $590,000.
8thBridge is one of many competitors in the social commerce industry that connects retailers with consumers on Facebook. This marketing channel permits merchants to collect details about their online customers. The distinguishing feature about 8thBridge is that it is aligned with established brands, such as 1-800-Flowers.com, Lands’ End, Brooks Brothers, Delta Air Lines, Hallmark, and HauteLook.
Among the features of the 8thBridge platform is a social shopping experience that allows customers to connect with friends about online products. Merchant websites are enabled with Facebook’s News Feed and Fan Pages to socialize the e-commerce experience. When customers share a product with Facebook friends, 8thBridge attaches the store so that friends can shop on the same site.
8thBridge is able to integrate its features into a merchant’s existing website without requiring extensive IT support from the merchant. For example, the quick checkout feature of 8thBridge is easily merged with a merchant’s existing shopping cart.
Merchants use the 8thBridge system to personalize electronic commerce. Targeted marketing is possible when consumers share their “likes” on Facebook. Personalized offers are made based upon customer likes as well as past shopping behavior and even what friends liked.
The 8thBridge vision is creating sales by leveraging Facebook communication into relevant and convenient offers. Facebook users discover products from friends and are eager to share what they find.
8thBridge plans to use the new capital to enhance its technology such as Storecast, which allows customer checkout directly from Facebook news feeds and fan pages. The company reports that its merchants have 10 to 20 times greater engagement rates with online shoppers than traditional direct marketing programs. The comfort of a Facebook experience seems to create more purchasing.