Officially launching to the public this week is a solution called Ondango, which allows businesses to launch their own social commerce platform on Facebook. The shopping system can be set up in a few quick steps to let customers browse and purchase their favorite products without ever having to leave the warm confines of the social network.
In other words, Ondango allows merchants to sell their products from the Facebook page, provide customers with a secure transaction mechanism, all while leveraging Facebook’s viral and social features. Yet, as eCommerce on Facebook is a relatively new feature for most web surfers, Ondango wants to make sure the solution is both easy for merchants to integrate and is designed in a format they’re familiar with, which is why shops closely resemble Facebook’s look, feel, and usability.
The Ondango-powered shop below shows an example of what the setup looks like, in this case for a German band, as Ondango is headquartered in Berlin. The solution is also available in English, Spanish, and Polish.
And on the other side, to get at that ease-of-use for customers who aren’t particularly familiar with social commerce on Facebook, the most appealing aspect of Ondango is that it doesn’t require users to accept an app request.
There are a lot of Facebook commerce solutions in the space, but adoption has been slow among brands and consumers alike. Because, as Ondango Co-founder and CEO José Matías del Pino puts it, the idea of putting an eCommerce solution on top of Facebook seems complicated, and most brands are just starting to get their social media teams in place and use new social channels to market and sell their products.
What’s more, from a user perspective, consumers are worried that Facebook is somehow involved in the transaction process, that their might be grabbing their credit card information, etc., he says. Thus, Ondango offers a solution in which all commerce happens through Facebook fan pages, and users aren’t redirected to merchant sites, yet the processes happen through the startup’s servers so that Facebook doesn’t have access to purchase data.
While Ondango offers users the ability to share purchases with their friends, leave comments, subcomments, and post purchases to their walls, the real focus, de Pino reiterates, is on the conversion rate for its shops. That’s why the startup went after a design that looks like it was implemented by Facebook, is straightforward and easy to use, and doesn’t require an app request.
Of course, launching an app request to purchase gives the host (like Ondango) access to the user’s Facebook data, and while the CEO said that, of course, all companies want access to that, the Ondango team found during their beta that 80 percent of users would drop out of purchases when they received an app request.
So, though Ondango may not be able to take advantage of data mining and cross promotion et al, they have built a solution that consumers can trust — and with that trust, a solution that will hopefully encourage conversion for merchants.
As to how the startup is going to make money? Ondango will be charging a monthly fee as well as a small transaction fee, under three different plans depending on the size and inventory of the shop. (Readers can check out more on pricing here.) The startup is also currently offering a 30-day free trial for new users.
Ondango is a graduate of the Founder Institute Berlin, and attracted 50-plus customers and 150K transactions during closed beta, as well as a 40K scholarship from a Berlin university, as well as a small round of angel investment.
The startup was also this week named one of the winners of the White Bull Summit in Barcelona, which recognizes the most innovative European tech startups.
For more on Ondango, check them out at home here or watch their video introduction below: