October 22, 2013
Do you know what f-commerce is? It’s okay if you don’t – most people aren’t acquainted with it. You have (certainly) heard of e-commerce (um hello, Amazon?). Well, guess what? Get over it because f-commerce is the next big thing…if done correctly. Recoup – a DC-based startup that runs an e-commerce platform connecting businesses to consumers through nonprofits – is going to make f-commerce more relevant, and there’s [THIS MANY] reasons why you should give a f.
First, let’s cover the basics. E-commerce (electronic commerce) involves transactions for products or services over the Internet. Within that category is social commerce – the utilization or implementation of social media or social networks in these same Internet transactions. Even further is this concept of f-commerce (Facebook commerce) – that having storefronts on Facebook pages or in apps will allow for e-commerce transactions to take place through Facebook itself.
Now, for the most part, f-commerce has largely been accepted as a failure. Sure, major companies like Gamestop, Gap, and Nordstrom have previously opened up and consequently closed down shops on Facebook, but I believe that such f-commerce failures can be attributed mostly to their strictly for-profit roots.
Here are the reasons why Recoup will revive excitement for f-commerce and disrupt the social commerce space:
1. Cause-Shopping Business Model
According to Edelman’s 2012 goodpurpose study (a study that explores consumer attitudes around social purpose), Americans have cut down significantly on direct contributions to charities. However, there hasn’t been a similarly large decline in online commerce. When quality and price are equal, social purpose ranks as the most important factor in selecting a particular brand. This is great for Recoup, with a business model that entails that 10 percent of the amount from every item purchased goes to a nonprofit that the shopper chooses.
2. Premium Goods
The team at Recoup dedicates a lot of their time on product selection and negotiating with brands and retailers. Because of this, the startup now has over 50,000 different products available on their current platform – 95 percent of which are priced in line with their equivalents on the market. And these are premium products – I mean, in order for people to actually want to make purchases through Facebook, the product selection has to, at least, be good. From brands like JAWBONE, Victorinox, and New Balance, Recoup isn’t playing around.
3. The Nonprofit Factor
According to the guys at Recoup, the average NGO has 35,000 Facebook fans. On top of this, NGOs are in an interminable state of development, where they’re actively trying to engage fans to get involved and to help them raise money for their various initiatives. Can you imagine the number of responses or purchases that could be made just from a simple post asking fans to purchase one item from their Facebook store?
4. Based in DC
Right now, the startup has over 275 NGO partners, and that number will only continue to grow. With the company’s location in Washington, DC, it has prime access to some of the largest NGOs in the world (and the Facebook audiences that they serve).
5. History of Rapid Success
Since the company launched its e-commerce site in July 2012, Recoup has sold over 13,500 items to over 8,000 buyers, gets about 30,000 site visitors per month, and has given more than $100K in charitable donations. And those are the numbers before the launch of their Facebook platform.
6. Easy and Efficient Facebook Platform
Most importantly, the Facebook platform they plan to launch can easily be implemented in each and every one of Recoup’s NGO partners’ Facebook pages because it will literally just be the same exact shop, except available on over 275 Facebook pages. The most unique part about Recoup’s f-commerce approach is that users are never redirected to outside pages in order to complete a purchase, as well as the ability to donate directly to an NGO through the same shopfront.
Recoup was featured at last month’s DC Tech Cocktail Mixer and Startup Showcase, where it won “Reader’s Choice”. The company recently signed on Save the Children as a partner, and is currently running its Facebook platform on beta with 10 NGOs, including Goodwill of Greater Washington and the Ocular Melanoma Foundation. They will be pitching, this week, at Tech Cocktail Celebrate.
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