LoopJoy wants to make selling real-life merchandise through an app as easy as selling virtual goods. The New York-based startup launched its private beta this week offering a service that promises to help mobile game developers to monetize their apps with branded goods.
According to CEO and co-founder Ruth Polachek, consumers may not think twice about spending real money on an in-app purchase, but when it comes to purchasing tangible goods, mobile is 10 years behind the web. In 2001, Cafe Press revolutionized online retailing by allowing website owners to sell branded goods while it handled heavy lifting of production, inventory and shipping. Now LoopJoy is looking to carve out a niche for itself in the mobile commerce field by providing a similar service to iOS developers.
“There’s two main problems that app developers have to deal with,” Polachek says. “One is distribution, and the other is monetization. The second problem follows the first one. If an app has millions of active users, a developer will be looking for a way to monetize them. It’s a natural process.”
LoopJoy’s free SDK allows developers to create stores full of branded goods directly within their apps, and incorporate those goods directly into gameplay loops.
“For example, once you hit level seven, you can unlock a certain product. You can incorporate [merchandise] into your game design and use it as a mechanic,” she explains.
Developers also don’t have to pay up front to set up their shops — after LoopJoy covers the cost of the merchandise, it shares what Polachek describes as an “extremely generous” portion of the proceeds with its clients.
Currently developers working with LoopJoy can offer custom branded iPhone cases, stickers and baseball caps to their users, but the company is working on expanding its lineup to include items like mugs, t-shirts and other apparel. In the future developers will also be able to work with LoopJoy to create custom items. During its beta period LoopJoy is keeping a physical supply of inventory on hand, but much like Cafe Press, the company plans to move to a print-on-demand model that will allow it to work with both small and large developers.
Loopjoy’s business model could prove popular with mobile developers, since it gives them the ability to sell branded goods without the headache of running a store or negotiating licensing agreements — an appealing prospect given the fact that most mobile developers prefer to keep their organizations lean. LoopJoy is currently live in Goroid’s TheEnd, with more games coming soon.
The company is backed by Dov Moran, who also serves as the company’s chairman. According to Israeli business publication Globes, the company has received “several hundred thousand dollars in seed funding.”
Developers interested in participating in LoopJoy’s beta can learn more by visiting its website.