Online retailers are increasingly trying to plug into social media as a way of getting repeat custom, and there are many companies – such as Curebit and 500friends – that provide tools to help them do so.
The idea behind them all is that companies can get customers not only to buy more, but also to do their advertising for them. However, a newly-funded German company called BonusBox is taking the approach a step further by aggregating various e-retailers’ loyalty schemes into a single Facebook app.
Whereas Amazon only knows what customers have bought, BonusBox combines purchase information with the data that’s available on users’ Facebook profiles. That combination, it says, is extremely valuable –- and will become even more so as the company expands into countries such as the U.S.
“We want to get better than Amazon at generating relevant recommendations,” CEO Paul Gebhardt told me. “Since we have by now more than 100 shops, we can use the data from these 100 shops [and combine] product history with social data. Amazon only have access to product data. We also have access to Facebook data.”
The way the system works is this: the online retailer integrates BonusBox’s software-as-a-service tool into their store. That means customers who are buying goods are then asked if they want to join the store’s loyalty scheme. They can only do so with their Facebook login.
Once they’ve installed the BonusBox Facebook app, they can then check it from time to time to see what deals are being offered by the various e-tailers that use the system. Those deals can be targeted by examining what the customer has bought from various stores that use the scheme, and how that tallies with their age or other personal data.
BonusBox has just received more than a million dollars in funding and hopes enter the U.S. market by the end of the year. According to Gebhardt, the company plans to use the money to expand beyond its current German and Brazilian remit, a strategy that needs feet on the ground in each new country to deal with affiliate networks.
The company’s initial funding round closed late last week, with Wellington Partners, Grey Corp and others getting in on the act.