The National Australia Bank (NAB) has become the banking partner of Australian social media commerce start-up Tiger Pistol.
Headquartered in Melbourne, Tiger Pistol launched in May after raising US$1 million in angel funding. The company makes it easy for users to build custom online stores through Facebook, with content able to be shared on Twitter and Pintrest.
NAB has agreed to be Tiger Pistol's payments partner, to eventually facilitate purchases through Facebook stores that are powered by the start-up.
"We have about 25 percent market-share in the merchants market, and any one of those 25 percent, in the future, will be able to open up a Facebook store in as little as 30 minutes," NAB Executive General Manager for Direct Banking Sam Plowman said at the FST Media banking technology conference in Sydney. "This partnership made sense because we can leverage our strength in the small business market with our payments gateway, functionality with our NAB Transact business, and we can pick a part of the market [to target]."
He stressed that NAB is presented with a swathe of opportunities to try new things, but does not have the resources to do everything. Plowman believes that it has picked a niche spot to play by teaming up with Tiger Pistol.
NAB is currently three weeks into a trial with Tiger Pistol, which will continue to run for the next few months. The bank expects a wide-scale launch of its services on Tiger Pistol in early 2012.
Commerce through Facebook, dubbed "f-commerce", in recent time has not been a particularly successful strategy for some companies, with several big name retailers closing down their Facebook shopfronts. But there is still optimism that f-commerce will eventually take off.
According to NAB, one in four people have made a purchase via a brand's Facebook page, and with 11 million active Facebook users in Australia, the bank hopes that the new partnership will broaden its reach as well.
Tiger Pistol's official website boasts that its products are already being used in over 100 countries by big companies such as Village Roadshow, webjet.com.au, and Twinnings.