New Startup Turns Facebook Pages Into Virtual Storefronts
Who says businesses can’t make money off Facebook?
Soldsie, a San Francisco startup, officially launched Wednesday night with the promise of helping small businesses sell their products to fans directly through Facebook comments. Retailers post a picture of a product for sale, and fans are asked to type “sold” in the comments if they want to buy it. The vendor can then reach out to these fans to confirm their intent to buy and send along an invoice for payment.
Rather than direct Facebook fans to shop on a separate website, Soldsie allows vendors to turn Facebook into the point-of-sale, using Soldsie as an intermediary. Consumers create an account with Soldsie that includes their e-mail and credit card information, and brands register with the startup to get in touch with the customer and process the transactions.
“People are spending time on these social networks, they are not going to dot coms. They want to transact there,” said Chris Bennett, Soldsie’s co-founder. ”All of the vendors we work with don’t have websites.”
Bennett says this from experience. He and his co-founder Arrel Gray originally worked together on a startup called Central.ly, which was essentially an About.me tool to help small businesses build a website that incorporated their social networking information, but the team soon noticed that vendors were less interested in building a website than building up their Facebook presence. So the two founders decided to pivot to developing Soldsie instead.