Consumers today are social media addicts, and Getonic is aiming to use their Facebook and Twitter habits to the advantage of online merchants.
"Instead of bringing traffic of people into e-commerce sites our mission is to bring the offers to the people where they are, mainly social networks," says Adi Eyal, CEO of Getonic. "We're changing the flow of commerce from passive waiting to the proactive sending of offers to the users."
Conversion to buy from widgets inside social feeds is high compared to online shopping methods, Eyal says. From Facebook, 3.5% of people that clicked on a post made with Getonic completed a purchase, he adds.
When consumers click to purchase the item, another tab opens where consumers can input their credit or debit card information or use PayPal to initiate the purchase. Consumers that share a link to the widget on social media can get rewards and other incentives if their friends purchase the item as well.
"We're providing the platform to make these fans a real distribution channel," Eyal says.
About 8% of people that click on the pop-up shop join Getonic as affiliates so they can take advantage of the rewards for sharing, he says. "The service is succeeding to double the traffic to the store through friends of friends; half were friends of the seller while the other half of people were friends of friends."
Merchants using Getonic choose between premade templates with customizable color, picture, video, price and offer details. They can then decide whether to post the small digital shop on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest. Users can also send the widget via email or plug it into an existing website.
Getonic raised $1.3 million at in the third quarter of 2012, and plans to use the money for marketing and to develop a mobile app.
American rock band Linkin Park is Getonic's biggest customer. The company built a tailored rewards program for the band, which tracked sales made through fans. The fan who made the most sales by sharing the widget received free concert tickets.
For custom programs, Getonic takes a revenue share from the offers.
Merchants that use the premade templates pay a $5 monthly subscription fee. Merchants using the subscription-based model can choose what incentive they give to fans or customers, such as giving 10% of each sale based on the shared widget.
"We're not just enabling people to sell but enabling them to find their customers and increase sales," Eyal says.
While there's plenty of potential within social commerce, most of it hasn't been achieved yet, says Dave Kaminsky, senior analyst at Mercator Advisory Group.
"It takes time for people to be comfortable making payments over a new medium," he says. Getonic "is an interesting idea of paying people to promote what are essentially interactive advertisements to their friends."
While a handful of companies, such as Chirpify and Dwolla, have seen success in bringing payments to social media, many more have imagined but failed to produce. Flattr, an online tipping system used by musician Amanda Palmer, ran afoul of Twitter's terms in April.
Just as Getonic has had success with Linkin Park, other online payment and e-commerce systems have found a following with musicians. Patreon was co-founded by Pomplamoose band member Jack Conte, and Chirpify counts Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne as clients.
However, the social game company Zynga's recent decision to lay off 18% of its staff is a setback for social e-commerce, says Kaminsky. Zynga, which created Farmville for Facebook, was "really serving to create a social commerce solution," he says.
Getonic plans on integrating other payment methods soon, plus the company wants to move from opening a new tab to pushing a pop-up window to consumers on the current page, says Eyal. Getonic will probably use technology from ZooZ, which builds in-ad payments pop-ups, he says.
Getonic launched in 2010 and currently has about 5,000 clients. The company is trying to partner with Web building platforms for small and medium-sized businesses as a way to quickly scale to more merchants. The company has a relationship with Wix.com, a freemium online platform that allows users to create HTML5 websites.