Back in 2009, 8thBridge was the first company to enable “f-commerce” through the launch of the 1-800-Flowers Facebook store. There was a lot of excitement as many other brands came on board with their own Facebook storefront, but, unfortunately, the concept has yet to really take off.
Do you shop directly on Facebook? Is it a good shopping experience? Let us know.
As a result, 8thBridge began working on a new social commerce platform called Graphite, which launched this week. Wade Gerten, the CEO of 8thBridge, spoke to WebProNews and told us that this new tool doesn’t focus on pushing shoppers to Facebook brand stores, but instead, it focuses on the existing channels shoppers use.
“What Graphite enables us to do, for the first time, is take those social shopping experiences and let them run in your existing channels, so in your website, in your brick and mortar store, through mobile apps, and any other channel,” he said.
The platform, which was built with Facebook’s Custom Open Graph, specifically integrates with existing brand sites. Retailers can include customized buttons beyond the “like” to include action verbs such as “love,” “want,” “need,” and more. In other words, the role of Facebook in Graphite is more for social discovery and information about products.
Gerten told us that the new social commerce platform has benefits for both consumers and brands. For consumers, it provides a better shopping experience and doesn’t take them out of their comfort zone. When a user presses one of the customized buttons on an ecommerce site, the action is displayed on his Facebook Timeline for his friends to see.
From a brand’s perspective, there are also many opportunities. According to Gerten, the majority of shopping on Facebook over the last year has consisted of sharing a product with another friend, not actual purchases.
“From a brand’s point of view, what it brings you is a much more powerful way to engage in social commerce,” he said.
“It’s that person-to-person sharing that drives social commerce,” Gerten added.
Gerten did point out that Graphite does not allow brands to push offers to consumers. On the other hand, it creates a more natural shopping experience for both the retailer and the consumer. With this model, he believes ecommerce revenues will increase.
“We think it’s the time when social commerce really starts to put some real revenue numbers on the board,” he said.
This new era of social commerce that Graphite brings is a drastic transformation from the early days of ecommerce that essentially consisted of a digital copy of a brand’s catalog. Gerten believes that, by shaping ecommerce around people as Graphite does, the resulting experience is more closely related to offline shopping.
At launch, some of 8thBridge Graphite’s partners include Ticketmaster, American Apparel, Hallmark, Elle, and Oscar de la Renta. Gerten did tell us that the company would be announcing more brands in the very near future.
What will this new social commerce platform bring to your shopping experience? We'd love to know.