F-Commerce Platform Payvment Shutting Down

f-commerce-APayvment, which powers 200,000 Facebook storefronts, said Monday it was shutting down its e-commerce platform and referring its merchant customers to a competing service.

Payvment and companion site Lish.com will close down on Feb. 28 and transfer its accounts to Ecwid, a rival social commerce platform with more than 250,000 merchants worldwide. The companies say the partnership is aimed at insuring that customers have a smooth transition to the new service.

“F-commerce” pioneer Payvment opened a virtual mall on Facebook in 2011 allowing users to shop at its thousands of stores without having to leave the site. Last year, it added Lish.com, an off-Facebook marketplace offering products that are trending across the social Web.

Jim Stoneham, Payvment’s CEO, told AllThingsD, which first reported the service’s planned shutdown, that the company technically wasn’t going out of business. In a letter posted on its Web site, the company stated that its management team was joining another company, which is apparently not Ecwid. Stoneham declined to comment further. Former Payvment CEO Christian Taylor left the company last summer.

Despite its enormous user base and high engagement levels, Facebook has yet proven to be a thriving platform for e-commerce. The underlying question is how interested people are in buying products when they’re going on the social network mainly to hang out with friends. In September, the company launched Facebook Gifts as a way for users to easily buy smaller-scale items for friends directly from the newsfeed from scores of retailers.

For its part, Ecwid says purchases made through Ecwid-powered storefronts on Facebook increased 65% during the fourth quarter. It adds that inbound links from Facebook to its stores accounted for as much as 8.5% of their holiday-season purchases.

The company offers an e-commerce app that it says can be embedded into any Web, blog or Facebook page in a matter of minutes. Its online store-building software is free for stores with 10 or fewer products, with monthly plans for larger stores starting at $15 for 100 products.

“Payvment has helped Facebook commerce mature and become a productive marketplace for retailers, particularly small businesses,” stated Jim O’Hara, president of Ecwid, on Monday. “We are excited to partner with Payvment, and are anxious to support their sellers as they begin doing business through their Facebook stores using Ecwid’s platform.”

San Diego-based Ecwid currently powers more than 40,000 Facebook storefronts through its shopping cart application geared to the social network. Started in Russia in 2009, the company has received $1.5 million in venture funding from Runa Capital.

Financial terms of the deal with Payvment were not disclosed. 

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