With new U.S. presence, Shopcade expands its social commerce business model

Riding the wave of social commerce, London-based Shopcade launched in November with a platform that lets people earn rewards for recommending products to Facebook friends. Now the company is expanding its presence stateside and beefing up its business model with new ways users can receive those rewards.

Reflecting interest from the U.S. (the site’s users are split evenly between the U.S. and Europe), the company opened an office in New York in March, and today is rolling out new features that let users receive rewards as points that are redeemable as exclusive offers from merchants.

Roxanne Varza, the company’s communications director, declined to disclose the number of Shopcade users, but said the user population is growing about 20-30 percent a month and is 35 percent male. The website also features about 65 million products, including those from brands like Urban Outfitters, Adidas and Forever 21.

Users log into Shopcade with their Facebook account to follow brands, people and categories. They can also select products from the overall pool and add them to their personal “shopcades” (or individual collections of favorite items). As they recommend and buy products, users receive cash or points from the sale. (User actions generate affiliate links, which enable the site to give users a cut of sales.)

Previously, Shopcade only let users redeem points to customize their shopcades (with different colors, decorations, etc.). But Varza said the new changes will enable users to redeem their points with exclusive offers from merchants, as well as digital goods, such as music from iTunes or Spotify. The company is also exploring the use of those new points to drive offline shopping.

Previous reports have suggested that the affiliate e-commerce site encourages social spam. But Varza said users are rewarded per purchase (when friends make a purchase after entering their Shopcade) and not per click, so they’re incentivized to choose products others will buy and not just overwhelm their friends with products.

While the site hasn’t boasted of a multimillion dollar funding round, its founder and funders offer compelling pedigrees. Nathalie Gaveau, the founder and CEO, co-founded PriceMinister, a French eBay rival that was later acquired by Japanese e-commerce site Rakuten (which recently invested in Pinterest).  Its angel investors include Daniel Bernard, former CEO of European retailer Carrefour, Ian Livingston, co-founder of Eidos Games and Lord John Birt, former director general of the BBC. The company hasn’t disclosed the amount of its seed funding but is looking to raise a new round.

Shopcade’s latest changes come on the heels of Fab.com’s recent decision to step up its social options. And, like Pinterest, Varza said, people are using the site to express themselves through shopcades dedicated to specific categories and interests (like Hello Kitty or, oddly, Moose).