Social Annex, a retail-focused social platform that’s been in stealth mode for the past two years, is today announcing having gained the attention (and the investment) of some big backers of e-commerce, just in time for its public debut. In addition to Kamran Pourzanjani, the former CEO and founder of PriceGrabber, and Brian S. Lee co-founder of ShoeDazzle, Legalzoom, and Honest.com, Social Annex is now seeing investment from Jody Mulkey, CIO and SVP of Technology at Shopzilla, and Lawrence Ng, the co-founder of Oversee.net.
Terms of the investments were not disclosed.
However, according to founder and Head of Client Services Al Lalani, bringing in these backers was less about raising funding and more about bringing their expertise and involvement to Social Annex.
Pourzanjani, who sold PriceGrabber.com to Experian in 2005 for $485 million, is also an investor in the mobile app monetization platform Pocket Change and recently invested in Post Card on the Run’s first round along with pop star Selena Gomez. In addition to his Social Annex investment, Pourzanjani is joining the company’s advisory board.
“Social Annex has a unique all-in-one approach for managing social marketing for online retailers and ensuring social engagement and customer success,” says Pourzanjani. “Social engagement is emerging as the most attractive ROI for online marketing and Social Annex with its impressive platform is poised to be the leader in the market.”
The company was originally launched in 2010, and now offers retailers three suites for generating ROI for their online operations. The startup leverages social sharing, social engagement, and social merchandising through website implementations designed to increase orders and conversion rates. The Sharing suite, for example, works to maximize a retailer’s visitor and consumer shares on social networks, to drive incremental revenue. The Engagement suite focuses on tools for brand-to-consumer relationships and the Merchandising suite uses Facebook’s Open Graph to enable better product discovery.
On the backend, retailers also have access to an analytics reporting system, which lets them track things like referral order, conversion rate increases and their “top influencers.” In addition, the suite of tools are entirely customizable and white-labeled, allowing retailers to easily craft them to work with their own needs.
Lalani says the key differentiator for the service is that it can help unify “anything and everything that a retailer would ever want to do with social on their site,” he says. It’s not a company built to deliver just one feature, but rather serves as a one-stop shop. That said, the company is just now launching a new feature that offers improved social loyalty option for retailers. Before, retailers could offer deals and discounts, but now customers can interact with the brand to gain points instead, which could later turn into rewards.
Social Annex says its service has now been integrated for several top retailers including some Internet Retailer Top 500 brands. Some clients include Swatch, Cache, and Entertainment.com. In total, there are over 50 enterprise customers on Social Annex now. The companies pay between $1,000 to $8,000 per month for the services from Social Annex.
Notably, the company says that it’s been profitable since the first two months of its inception, which is why Social Annex isn’t giving details as to how much the e-commerce founders have put in, but rather that it has their support. More angel investors have also been lined up, but Social Annex isn’t ready to reveal details yet.
The company is currently 27 employees, and has offices in L.A., San Francisco, and Chicago. It plans to expand to the East Coast (likely NY or Boston) in the next three months.