Zlio — the 'social commerce
network' that lets anyone set up their own web shop in a matter of
minutes — just raked in USD 4 million in funding from Mangrove Capital
Partners, an early investor in Skype. So what have they been up to
since we featured
them in February? Two milestones were recently reached: 100,000 shops
(from 35,000 in February) and 2.5 million visitors per month.
Shopbuilders now have over 3 million products to choose from, with
sales handled by partners like Barnes & Nobles, which recently
signed up as a merchant. Participating minipreneurs
are earning up to USD 750 per month in commissions, by carefully
selecting products, tweaking their shop's design and promoting it
everywhere they can. Shops focus on niches from Birkenstocks to Great
British TV, and Gifts Under $20 to Everything Elvis.
Some users have started operating multiple boutiques,
cross-promoting and buying AdWords to drive traffic to their ZlioShops.
Bloggers place widgets on their websites featuring products that appeal
to their audience. As explained by a shopkeeper who blogs about
mediaeval re-enactments: "Instead of being an affiliate marketer for 15
different sites, and having multiple competing ad blocks on my page, I
can just select the products I want to promote regardless of the store
of origin. Saves me lots of time in signing up, getting approved and
designing ads from the many different websites offering affiliate
As both merchants and consumers become more familiar with this type
of commerce, there's room for other players in this field, especially
in countries that aren't yet covered by Zlio — Asian and South-American
contenders to follow soon?