Tag - ecommerce

Wed, 16 May 2012


Wed, 16 May 2012, 10:28

Great News! Moonfruit acquired by Yell

Firsts things first. To all our wonderful customers, don't worry, we're not going anywhere! The Moonfruit you know and love will continue to be run by the Moonfruit team you know and love, but as part of a bigger group. Our product roadmap delivery will continue, and may even accelerate as Yell recognises the exciting things going on here and want to support and invest in that growth. And, as the team that founded Moonfruit, we'll be sticking around too and we are all really excited about what's to come both within Moonfruit and within Yell.

We founded Moonfruit in 1999 as a place to “share your passions” online. We wanted to democratise publishing on the web for small businesses and individuals. The last 12 years have flown by. Those of you who have followed our story know that like many small businesses before us, the path from startup to growth business has not always been a straight-forward one. The one thing we are sure of is this: it's our customers and community that have made us who we are and helped us grow rapidly in the past few years.

So far nearly 5 million websites and 230,000 shops have been built using Moonfruit. Over 500k people are currently using Moonfruit: 60% in the UK, 33% in the US and 7% in the Rest of the World. Millions more browse, transact and link to Moonfruit sites, together with our 18k twitter followers and 10k Facebook fans, the team here is proud to be part of the Moonfruit community.

We have been looking at the best way to accelerate providing our services to a bigger global SMB (Small Medium Business) audience and were heartened at the number of big SMB players in the US who became very interested in partnering with us. In fact so interested that they proposed "getting married" or I really should say, acquired (for those of you who have organised and negotiated around a wedding it's a similarly harrowing and joyful experience!)

So after discussion with several attractive and not so attractive suitors I'm very excited to announce we accepted a "proposal" from Yell Group and are excited to announce our marriage! Yell is a leading provider of digital services within the emerging local eMarketplace for consumers and SMBs across its operations in the UK, US, Spain and some countries in Latin America. Yell has 1.3m small business customers and earned £2bn in revenue in 2011, supported by 13,000 employees around the world and, most importantly for us, is an entrepreneurial corporate with the commitment to being a true global digital service provider which will better serve SMBs. Together we can provide better tools and services to help customers build and grow their businesses on web, mobile and social platforms.

Yell has made it very clear they are not just buying Moonfruit for its products and customers but for the Moonfruit team itself. There is a commitment to keep the team at Moonfruit together to continue innovating current and new digital products. Moonfruit will continue to run as a sub-brand of Yell.

We're committed to carry on providing an open and transparent service to our customers and to continue innovating with their input and support. With Yell’s resources and support behind us we will be able to provide additional services to help grow our customer businesses.

We love providing people with simple, design-led tools which allow anyone to create a great looking and effective website or shop. We've continued to listen to our customers and innovate our products. Our latest "light" ShopBuilder makes it super simple for small businesses to design, curate and publish an online shop simultaneously on the web, mobile and Facebook. And we're making our final steps to migrating fully to HTML 5. All our sites will render in HTML 5 on the iPad (for one) later in 2012, building on our mobile sites and Facebook shops which are already published in HTML 5.

We look forward to continuing our journey with you and helping your businesses flourish.

Many thanks

Wendy-Tan-White CEO and Co-Founder

PS. Here's what TechCrunch had to say about the Yell acquisition of Moonfruit

Wed, 21 Dec 2011


Wed, 21 Dec 2011, 10:10

How online and social commerce is opening doors

Moonfruit's COO Joe White writing for the Smarta blog says: As the web continues to evolve, smart businesses look to use its new features in ways that can help them expand, compete and remain profitable - even at a time when the economic outlook seems bleak. This is particularly true when the web gives us opportunities to make money.

When Moonfruit.com was created, its aim was to allow anyone - from individuals through to small business owners and beyond - to control, maintain and customise their online identities, without needing big budgets or technical expertise. Together with the proliferation of social media platforms, this created a more equal playing field for people vying for online exposure.

Since then, people's online priorities have progressed from controlling their presence to boosting their sales. Online platforms use a number of methods to focus on money-making: traditional ecommerce, where people can buy products or services online using electronic payment; ad-supported platforms, which offer a service or content funded by commercial advertising; and paywalls and micropayments, which allow sites to monetise individual units of content.

What's new in ecommerce?

So why has ecommerce been so important for smaller businesses with a mandate to grow? Since launching our ShopBuilder tool - which allows people to publish online shops across a number of platforms, including their own site, Facebook and mobile - we have seen some innovative ways to make money using ecommerce functions. Some of these go way beyond simply selling products for payment.

Our customer Yoga Bellies, a pre- and post-natal yoga class that takes place across the UK, has done something very interesting with ShopBuilder. Its online shop function collects customers' payments for classes that take place offline. Similarly, the King's College London Symphony Orchestra is using ShopBuilder to allow people to purchase concert tickets in advance of the event.

While this isn't new in itself (most people have purchased tickets for a concert or holiday online), Yoga Bellies and King's College are integrating ecommerce into real life without using the complex online registration or billing systems required by tour operators and ticket vendors. This is hugely significant for small businesses and micro-traders because it removes some of barriers that may have inhibited growth in the past: customers not carrying the right cash, for example, or not possessing a chequebook.

Ecommerce vs. social commerce

Social commerce is a concept that builds on ecommerce by adding interactivity and sharebility to the traditional buy/sell structure. A number of studies have shown that people trust the recommendations made by their family and friends online more than they trust other types of promotion. It makes sense: Why would you trust an advert or even a third-party endorsement when you can access unbiased advice from the people you know in real life?

Facebook is a particularly fertile platform for social commerce not only because it has so many users, but also because ecommerce functions have started to be integrated with company pages. It's powerful because it allows people to buy within their own network without needing to visit other websites - and because they can engage with the brand in ways their friends and network can see. This process introduces a viral effect into the selling chain, and enables smaller businesses to grow organically using popular platforms such as Facebook.

We originally launched ShopBuilder to allow site owners to set up shop wherever their customers wanted to buy, and to fill a gap in the ecommerce market. So it's interesting to see that our users are most excited about one specific ShopBuilder feature, and that's Facebook integration! Thousands of our shops are already using this feature to publish their whole product catalogue into the social network to allow buying and selling inside Facebook itself. It will be even more interesting to see how they innovate with social and ecommerce in the future.

See the original article here