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Quick Pitch: Create your own Facebook storefront.
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Genius Idea: Sellers receive a 40% sales commission -- a powerful motivating factor.
Over the past year, a number of startups and established retailers have sought to monetize online influence, giving users sales commissions on products they link to on their blogs, social media accounts and in their own, dedicated online shops.
The cut that users receive for those sales is generally modest. The Fancy offers users a 2% commission of sales made by linking to product pages on its site. Amazon offers affiliates between 4% and 8% depending on product category. StyleOwner, a startup that encourages users to sell goods through their own online fashion boutiques, offers a 10% cut of sales made on behalf of its partners, which include big-name retailers like Saks and Nordstrom.
Two fashion industry veterans -- Michael Bereck, a former wholesale distributor and founder of early fashion ecommerce play fashion500.com, and Kareen Mallet, previously a fashion director at Neiman Marcus for 17 years -- think individuals should be given a far bigger cut, to the tune of 40% of every sale. The pair have raised $4 million in funding to found Zindigo, a direct-selling platform that will operate on Facebook.
Here's how it works: Consumers open their own shops as business pages on Facebook. They can stock their shops with wares from more than 80 apparel and accessories designers, including Kara Ross, Fenton/Fallon, Erickson Beamon and Isabella Fiore, and they will receive a 40% commission on every sale.
Zindigo has 18 employees divided between New York City and Palm Beach, Fla. The company takes around a 15% cut of every sale. In addition to individually operated storefronts, Zindigo will also have its own Facebook store for partner brands, as well as an ecommerce consultancy for brands.
Zindigo will focus initially on fashion, but plans to expand into travel, hospitality, automotive and entertainment.
I asked Bereck why ecommerce on Facebook has thus far failed to reach its potential. "Taking a website and putting it on Facebook doesn't give a lot of added value, and it doesn't really leverage social," he said. "We're talking to brands with 2,000 followers on their Facebook page. They need a system that helps them get to everyone else, and that's what we're building."
This story originally published on Mashable here.