August 22nd, 2011

The Value of a Social Commerce Referral

At Everlane we recently shut down a side-project of ours, Indie Cases, where we were selling some pretty sweet iPhone cases. Over the month and a half that the store was live we saw some good traffic from up-and-coming social commerce sites like Svpply and Pinterest.

I thought I’d take the time to share some of the numbers.

The Sites

Startup ideas come in bunches, and these social commerce sites are no exception. They all are built around aiding discovery, typically by allowing users on the site to share “finds” from around the web and build a following.

These finds may or may not be products and have a price tag associated with them. They may also be restricted to a specific category (e.g., women’s high fashion) on the site.

Here’s a list of all the sites I know. If you know any other, please, send me an email and I’ll update the list.

  • Buyosphere
  • NotCouture
  • Pinterest
  • Svpply
  • The Fancy

Of these sites, only Pinterest, Svpply, and The Fancy sent any traffic to Indie Cases.

The Numbers

The hope for these startups is that referrals from these sites are worth more than the average, non-qualified visitor. Some, like The Fancy, are even experimenting directly with commerce.

Value of a Social Commerce Visitor
Site Conversion % $/visitor
Pinterest 0.93% $0.31
Svpply 3.70% $1.09
The Fancy 0.48% $0.13

I left out the traffic number deliberately, but will say this: The Fancy drove approximately 10x the traffic of Svpply, which drove the least amount of traffic of the three.

A Wrinkle

Why did Svpply convert so much better than Pinterest or The Fancy? Well, half the purchases from Svpply were of this iPhone case, which Ben Pieratt, CEO of Svpply, tweeted about directly.


Social Commerce?

Consider the above: a plug from a respected member of a community interested in our products (Svpply) produced roughly the same number of sales as a site driving 10x the traffic (The Fancy).

That, in a nutshell, is the promise of social commerce: the right recommendation at the right time from the right person.

The success of sites like Svpply, Pinterest, and The Fancy will hinge on their ability to consistently produce that.

Additional Info

Just for reference, here are the Compete graphs of the sites that sent traffic to Indie Cases. spacer

Pinterest dominates in raw site traffic, but the question is whether their referrals are coming with intent to purchase. I’m sure they were grilled nonstop about that while they were out fundraising — a traffic graph like that allows for a lot of leeway. ;)

Does this interest you?

At Everlane, we’re not building a social commerce platform, we’re building a full-on store selling our own products. Indie Cases was a small preview of what’s coming.

If you are an engineer or designer interested in defining what online retail should look like in a world where Twitter and Facebook exist, and YouTube creates stars in weeks (not months), shoot me an email at and let’s talk.

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