With New Platform, Social Commerce Evolves From Point Solution to Integrated Approach

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With New Platform, Social Commerce Evolves From Point Solution to Integrated Approach

8thBridge, a provider of social commerce platforms, recently unveiled its new social commerce platform, 8thBridge Graphite, during a video streaming event. Graphite is the first social commerce platform built from the ground up to be easily integrated with existing channels and marketing systems. Graphite was designed to help marketers scale up sales and realize the full potential of social commerce by tapping into the distribution power of their existing channels.

"This is the most significant innovation in social commerce since 8thBridge created the category in 2009 when we completed the first sale on Facebook," said Wade Gerten, founder & CEO of 8thBridge. "We believe Graphite will usher in a new era of social commerce by making it easy to integrate social shopping capabilities into existing channels."

8thBridge Graphite enables shoppers to become advocates by easily expressing how they feel about products and offers on their Facebook Timeline from whatever channel they discover the product or offer. These "social expressions" can be customized by marketing teams to communicate the brand's feel and mimic what its advocates like to express about the brand and its products.

"Real social commerce scale required it to move from its point solution beginnings to a more integrated approach," said Jon Kubo, chief product officer at 8thBridge. "Until today, this integration required too much internal technical support to accomplish it. Graphite solves this problem by making multi-channel social commerce as easy to implement as the Facebook Like button."

8thBridge unveiled over a dozen innovative Graphite launch partners, which included: American Apparel, Inc., Avon/mark, Deb Shops, ELLE, Guitar Center, Inc., Hallmark Cards, Inc., Hayneedle.com, Musician's Friend, Inc., Nasty Gal, Nine West, Oscar de la Renta, Plum District, TOMS, and Woodwind & Brasswind.

Graphite's launch partners expect to see a significant increase in traffic and sales as a result of more sharing and advocacy from their customers.

"The [Graphite technology] is a great improvement to close the gap between social networking and online shopping in a very user-friendly way," said Stacey Shulman, CIO, American Apparel.

"The new Graphite technology from 8thBridge was the first social commerce approach that aligned with our multi-channel vision. We are excited about being the first in our industry to provide this service to our customers," said Brian Moen, CMO, Hayneedle.com (number 77 in the Internet Retailer's Top 500 Guide).

Shoppers of Graphite's launch partners will now be able to easily express how they feel about offers to their Facebook friends. Some of the social expressions being implemented include: Want, Love, Own, Need Advice, Smile, LOL, Gimme, Need, I Can't Wait to Wear, Ask a Friend, Wear, Have, and Try.

"We are our customer. Speaking to her in her language has always come easy to us. It has to be natural. 8thBridge's ability to further refine our voice through customizable expressions is providing us and our customers with yet another social tool that enables engagement and natural social sharing," said Sophia Amoruso, founder and CEO, Nasty Gal.

"With 8thBridge Graphite, we are finally able to seamlessly integrate commerce and social. The social expressions attached to products – Love, Want, Own – will enable our readers to share how they feel about our partners' products with their friends on Facebook in ways they were never able to before," said Kevin O'Malley, senior vice president, publisher, and chief revenue officer, ELLE.

When a customer expresses how they feel about a product or offer on their Facebook Timeline, Graphite attaches a Shoppable Story. The Shoppable Story allows a customer's friends to shop without leaving Facebook. 8thBridge has proven that Facebook users shop brand offers 18X more often when they are not required to leave the preferred experience on Facebook. Brands also get to control and present a richly branded shopping experience on Facebook.

"The One for One movement was built on word-of-mouth, and the Graphite technology will empower our fans to share TOMS in a new and special way," said Caitlin Coble, social media manager, TOMS.

The Graphite platform enables a better strategy for how brands sell with social media. Graphite gives marketers a way to move beyond marketing campaigns that are focused primarily on awareness and buzz to a perpetual social selling program that focuses on revenue. Marketers can now create a brand-consistent social advocacy program and then maximize it over time with deep social commerce insights from Graphite.

"The Graphite technology from 8thBridge fits well with our constantly evolving social media strategy. It allows us to get detailed insights about the popularity of our products beyond the Like button." said Stacey Shulman, CIO, American Apparel.

8thBridge is a Facebook® Preferred Marketing Developer and has been a beta partner with Facebook's new Custom Open Graph technology.

8thBridge Graphite is the first commercially available social commerce technology integrated with Facebook's new Custom Open Graph. 8thBridge's beta launch of the new Graphite technology powered Ticketmaster's Timeline app in January 2012. TechCrunch called the Ticketmaster application the "most impressive" of all the Facebook Timeline apps launched at the time.

"Graphite is a gigantic leap forward toward our goal of reshaping ecommerce around people," said Gerten. "This is a major social commerce milestone and we're thrilled to have the opportunity to empower thought leaders that are driving innovation within their industries."