Alibaba’s Tmall Global now features goods from 14,500 overseas brands, 80% of them selling in China for the first time.
The site caters to consumers who want to share product information and ask about products.
ShopSocially, a company that encourages consumers to share product information and reviews, says it has received $1.1 million in initial financing. Valhalla Partners led the investment round, with participation from investors Raman Khanna, Ashish Gupta and Dharmesh Thakker.
“ShopSocially is playing in a $150 billion e-commerce market with an innovative social shopping platform for consumers to ask their friends for shopping recommendations and proactively make product recommendations after a purchase,” says Kiran Hebbar, a partner at Valhalla.
Consumers cannot make purchases through ShopSocially’s site, shop.social.ly. Rather, consumers can click an orange Share tab on the right edge of the site to share details about purchases, including price, merchant and other comments. Shoppers also can click the green Ask tab above the Share tab to ask questions about future purchases—for instance, how particular shoes hold up, the best type of computer, or whether the plot of a bestseller is believable.
ShopSocially’s funding fits into the larger trend of investment dollars flowing into social media. According to study released this week by the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire, the retail sector accounted for 9% of angel investment in the first half of the year, largely because of investments in social networks. Total angel investment in the first half of 2010 totaled $8.5 billion, the report says. Angel investors typically put money into companies just getting started.
ShopSocially launched earlier this year and has attracted more than 10,000 product recommendations, the company says. Early use of the site has revealed at least one interesting trend, the company says: Though consumers can sign into other social media services via buttons on the site, 60% of site participants have opted out of posting information and questions about purchases on Facebook and Twitter. The company says that is evidence consumers would rather talk about shopping topics on a specialized web site and keep general discussions and socializing on social networks.