Social commerce platform 8thBridge has taken $10 million in a second round of funding led by Trident Capital. The money will go towards developing an interest-based product recommendation engine and a brand evangelist rewards program within its StoreCast Facebook ecommerce app.
8thBridge, formerly Alvenda, was an early entrant into the Facebook ecommerce space, creating stores for 1-800-Flowers.com and Delta Air Lines. Other clients now include Hallmark, Land’s End, mark by Avon, and Brooks Brothers. The company previously received $5 million in a first round of funding in January 2010 from Split Rock Partners, a firm that also joined in the latest round.
The company currently offer storefronts which can be embedded in tabs on Facebook Pages and within news feed stories. This in-stream shopping has great potential because a single brand evangelist can enable all their friends to make purchases.
Along with recommendations and rewards programs, 8thBridge will use the funding to work on a social promotions system that might allow users to gain discounts if they can get their friends to purchase as well. Currently some of 8thBridge’s storefronts load as canvas apps, opposed to offering a shopping experience directly from a Page tab, which it may seek to change to reduce friction.
The funding continues the trend of companies aggressively pursuing the Facebook ecommerce solutions market. Storefront services, rewards program, and Facebook Connect-powered shopping sites are all rapidly proliferating. Storefronts including 8thBridge looking to succeed will need to offer simple onboarding and product catalog importing, intuitive checkout flows, deep social sharing options, and innovative promotions. Trident Capital and Split Rock’s investment should help 8thBridge concentrate enough resources on these problems.