Buck Corp., a mobile payment processor and social shopping platform provider, launched a new service that allows companies or individuals to quickly establish an e-commerce shopping site.
Creating a “Shop on Buck” e-commerce store allows media companies, bloggers, magazines and other entrepreneurs with strong social media followings to operate a shopping site as a distributor of various merchant products.
It's a modern spin on an old idea. It's not quite a multi-level marketing system like Amway, though Buck's new shop system encourages users to turn their social ties into sales leads. And it's not quite the referral system that companies like Amazon.com offer because it allows users to draw inventory from multiple sources.
Buck refers to its distributors as “trendsetters,” which receive commissions established by the merchants for products sold through their Buck sites. Merchants establish their own commission amounts, which are shared between Buck and the trendsetters.
Merchants pay no upfront costs or ongoing fees to make their products available for Buck distributors, says Andy Kleitsch, Buck's CEO and founder.
Consumers purchase products on the Buck sites with one click from their mobile device or PC because the transaction moves into Buck’s mobile payment processing technology for routing to the merchant’s own processing gateways, Kleitsch says.
The first time consumers shop through a Buck site, they would enroll payment card information that would be linked specifically to the mobile device they shop from, Kleitsch says.
“The credit card information is stored in the cloud, so it never stays in a phone or on any of the sites,” Kleitsch explains. “That card data is linked to a device identification on the mobile phone, and there are various attributes of the phone operating system we can use to make this link.”
Essentially, trendsetters can sell other merchants' products without the responsibility of payment processing, fulfillment, returns or chargebacks, Kleitsch says.
Buck's distributors promote their Buck shops to their Facebook followers and through Twitter, Pinterest, e-mail and other social media outlets, Kleitsch says.
Distributors log on to the product dashboard to curate their own selection of products from various merchants participating in the Buck distribution model for display in their own Buck- powered online shops. They can add products to their own sites by choosing “Buck It” on a selection menu below the item of a participating merchant, much in the same manner as users click “Like” next to items on Facebook.
While those considered trendsetters generally have to be a company or an individual with a strong social media following, anyone can apply to operate a Buck shop, Kleitsch says.
“The unemployed CEO who feels he or she wants to do this could apply, but Buck goes through a process to approve the application,” Kleitsch says.
Generally, a trendsetter consistently works the social media networks and is aggressive in luring potential buyers onto their websites and “show a real effort” to sell products for merchants under the Buck distribution model, Kleitsch adds.
For the initial launch in the Seattle area, local merchants were invited to participate. However, the company plans to extend the opportunity for merchants nationwide to expand distribution through Buck in the coming months, Kleitsch says.
If trendsetters have favorite products from non-Buck participants, they can convince the merchant to join the Buck distribution system and allow them to help sell those products, Kleitsch says.
“This is a way for these merchants to create a new discovery channel for their products,” he adds.