E-commerce startup Soldsie, backed by $1 million in outside funding from FundersClub, 500 Startups, e.ventures, and others, is today expanding its service internationally, with support for six additional currencies and 28 new markets. Included in the lineup are Australia, Canada, Brazil, Taiwan, the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe, where the euro is used.
The company is not the first social commerce service to go international, as competitor Gumroad currently supports 160 countries as well as currencies like CAD, AUD, GBP, EUR, and YEN, while Chirpify and Ribbon also support international users via PayPal, wire transfers, checks and the like.
Soldsie, which began its life as Central.ly in early 2011, was originally focused on building an About.me for the SMB market, before pivoting to social commerce. Founders Chris Bennett and Arrel Gray said they discovered while doing market research that retailers were now continually engaging with customers on Facebook, posting photos of merchandise to drive traffic, whether foot traffic to local shops, or online clicks for Internet retailers.
They were also especially inspired by the efforts of popular kids’ clothing retailer Lolly Wolly Doodle, a company whose customers would enter in their email in Facebook comments to start the purchasing process. Lolly Wolly Doodle has since gone on to raise $20 million in new funding from Steve Case’s Revolution Growth fund, FirstMark Capital, Highline Venture Partners, and Novel TMT Ventures – move that the Soldsie team believes validates what they’re building in terms of Facebook-based commerce.
By the time Soldsie announced the close of its seed funding in March, it had seen over 100,000 customers shopping through its service, which also enables businesses to sell via Facebook comments. After shoppers first register with the Soldsie Facebook app, they can then buy items just by typing “sold.” Following the initial purchase, customers’ credit card info remains on file for future purchases. Today, the company reports over $10 million in transactions processed on its platform, and a reach of over 1,000 merchants.
The service has proven especially sticky with moms-turned-entrepreneurs, who sell things like women’s and children’s clothing and accessories via Facebook, but who often don’t have actual brick-and-mortar storefronts, or, in some cases, even a website.
“The traditional paradigm for using Facebook today is a marketing channel. You’re supposed to treat it as a watercooler for your fans,” says Bennett. But more people are realizing that it can also serve as a place to sell directly to fans, he adds. And now that it has many of these Facebook-first entrepreneurs on board, Soldsie is beginning to reach more brick-and-mortars, too.
The company had previously been testing the international support with some merchants in Australia ahead of today’s public debut. Also in the works is a new metrics page that shows how sales are performing. This feature is currently in beta with select merchants.
As for Soldsie’s longer-term plans, other social platforms are not out of the question, says Bennett. “I think they can all do extremely well,” he says. “Each one will take off in a different niche.”