Los Angeles-based incubator Science is at it again, having launched a brand new company called TopFloor designed to change the way we shop online. Founders Brian Lee and Mike Jones head this new startup and hope to answer a question they frequently get asked by celebrities and business: “Why do we invest time and money into building social audiences that we ultimately can’t leverage for sales?”
TopFloor is a video-driven platform where anyone can engage with on their social network. Think of it like a rebooted version of QVC for the social web. The company works with brands to put together videos about their products and includes annotations that, when clicked, link the viewer to a page where they can purchase that particular item. Videos are produced by TopFloor with the help of its video production team and takes about 3-4 days to complete, although if the brands know what they want to do, something could be turned around pretty quickly.
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What makes TopFloor unique in this field is that it is one of the few YouTube partners who have the ability to add links into videos. It’s building a platform that will deliver what it calls an “integrated and seamless shopping experience within popular shopping networks – not simply another standalone destination shopping site.” While primarily shared on YouTube, these videos can be inserted into tweets as rich objects that enable users to watch and shop directly from their feed.
The company will manage the entire process from start to finish, including uploading the video into its YouTube channel. Future discussions included having embeddable players for interested parties to use.
Jones says that this new service will change the way social and commerce interact with one another:
To date, experiments typically haven’t fared well because most have been little more than traditional e-commerce tactics shoehorned into social platforms. Affiliate links and Web stores built in Facebook application tabs are just two examples.
Unbeknownst to the general public, TopFloor had already been running for the past few months and in early tests, it saw sales conversions that were more than 10x higher on social channels than by email with more than 1,300 units sold in 3 hours. These results, combined with research by Booz & Co. predicting the social commerce industry will top $14 billion by 2015, illustrate that consumers are heavily interested in finding new ways to shop and share with their friends and network.
With TopFloor, customers can easily find out where to go to purchase the product being discussed while they have an interest in it.
The company has raised $6 million for their Series A round to help enable commerce across any social network. Investors include Polaris Ventures, Google Ventures, Crosslink Ventures, Rustic Canyon Partners, and, of course, Science Media. It has a revenue-share monetization model that will be dependent on whether its fulfillment services are needed.
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