Up until now Moonfruit has been known as a nice and easy web site builder. Although a long time player in the game (this company is 12 – count ‘em – years old) they’ve done very well at iterating their products onto other platforms, raised decent funding, got some serious names involved, some (like 500 Startups) from Silicon Valley, and seen their user base hit some serious traction of late. But today they enter a new realm which ultimately, in my opinion, makes them a player in the realm of owning what I call the “shop identity”.
The headline news is that they are partnering with PayPal to launch ShopBuilder, an “out-of-the-box” e-commerce solution that lets traders sell pretty much anywhere online. Thus, although this deal is with PayPal, it’s Moonfruit which will be the middleman aggregator here and that’s a lot more powerful than just allowing people to build a web or mobile presence. Other providers like Pavement on Facebook, open source software like Magento and Shopify don’t come anywhere near as easy as this.
ShopBuilder works across web, mobile and Facebook. Integration to eBay and other marketplaces is planned.
I’ve seen it demo’ed and the most powerful aspect is the ability to set up a shop inside a Facebook page very, very easily. And I mean seriously easy. Frankly it’s so easy I am starting to wonder if Moonfruit will really need it’s web site builder platform much longer, and in fact whether that will simply become a feature of the Moonfruit offering as against its Facebook integration. Because unlike existing tools for online traders, there is no need to create a different shop for different platforms.
As CEO Wendy Tan-White puts it: “We’re aiming to democratise selling by giving consumer retailers the power to craft and own their online brand identity, to set it free whether on web, mobile or social.”
Cameron McLean, General Manager Merchant Services at PayPal UK, says they partnered with Moonfruit because they already have thousands of small businesses on their platform.
Dave McClure, 500 Startups Founding Partner and Moonfruit investor says the new launch “couldn’t have come at a better time as Facebook are currently focusing on integrating the Open Graph with e-commerce.”
Personally I’m convinced, and I can see the Moonfruit’s Facebook shop builder becoming at least 50% of their business in the future if not more.