Ondango Making the Most Out of Facebook Commerce

By Lynsey Anderson |

The advantages of using Facebook to market products online are obvious to most companies – but ondango is going one step further. The Berlin-based startup is enabling shop owners to bring their stores directly to their FB friends.

Allowing companies to use Facebook’s features to increase their reach of shoppers, companies can offer special promotions for brand engagement and fan loyalty.

José Matías del Pino is CEO and co-founder of ondango. He said: “The idea was that there are hundreds of millions of users on Facebook, as well as millions of merchants using Facebook as a marketing tool – we need to create a world class shopping experience within this network.”

The startup was among the companies who pitched at the first TWiST event in Germany last month. It sets itself apart from the competition, which includes Payvment in the US, by offering users a more aesthetically pleasing service, annoying chat box on the website aside. José added: “Our shops look better than the competition; they perform better because we understand, as a user, what we should expect from that kind of experience and invest a lot of energy into understanding how a shop should look on Facebook.”

José believes that Facebook commerce is where e-commerce was ten years ago – not only in terms of technology and business models but also in terms of the acceptability of the users. “This is not something mainstream – there are very few people who have already bought something on a Facebook shop. This is something that is going to grow but right now it is just starting and to decrease that trial barrier you need to offer a shopping experience that is secure, that is easy to understand and that just feels right- that’s where we are the specialists.”

Launched in September 2011 and with customers in every continent, part of ondango’s success comes from the privacy it offers. “The fact that we don’t ask for Facebook credentials to buy a product is also something that users like a lot because they have a feeling of security – that we’re not invading their privacy when they want to buy something.”

There’s no need to download an app; instead, sports organisations, bands, fashion brands and online retailers can post status updates linking to products they are selling on ondango, allowing their friends to simply click on the item and pay via PayPal, credit or debit card.

By paying a monthly subscription fee and five percent of any sales made, ondango users are given complete flexibility when it comes to the organisation and shipment of their products. Taking no responsibility in the payment and product transactions, shop owners can decide which countries they want to ship to and the cost of these shipments. However, ondango does give shops the chance to cancel orders, in which case the commission charge is revoked.

The service is already proving popular with retailers, including German football team FC Ingolstadt. “People don’t know that our shops aren’t a part of Facebook” said José. “They just think ‘ok, so now I can buy something on Facebook, cool!’’