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Branding Brand raises $7.5M to expand its mobile commerce platform

Mobile commerce platform Branding Brand has raised $7.5 million in funding as it looks to sign up new retailers, continue to develop its technology and scale operations.

With several major retailers as clients – including American Eagle Outfitters, Costco, Ralph Lauren, and Sephora – Branding Brand is already one of the leading mobile commerce platforms. The news comes as Internet traffic to retailers’ sites continues to grow, with many now seeing over 10 percent – and in some cases up to 50 percent  – of their traffic coming from smartphones and tablets.

The company also has a new president, Jeffrey R. Hennion, who previously served as the executive vice president, chief marketing officer and e-commerce at General Nutrition Centers.

Mobile is increasingly being used by consumers not only to make purchases but also to enhance the in-store shopping experience by enabling price comparisons, access to retailers’ apps, to download and redeem coupons as well as to make payments.

As a result, mobile is transforming the retail industry and impacting almost all avenues of a retailer’s operation, which is why mobile commerce businesses such as Branding Brand are attracting the attention of investors.

Mcommerce piques investor interest
Private companies in mobile raised $3.9 billion in venture capital through 479 deals during the first half of the year, according to a recent report from Rutberg & Co. This was the largest amount for a half-year period since Rutberg & Co. began tracking this space in 2001.

Investments in mobile commerce and payments platforms for retail businesses helped drive a significant investment increase for the enterprise infrastructure sector.

Branding Brand’s $7.5 million in funding, its first outside investment, was led by Insight Venture Partners, with CrunchFund and Eastern Advisors also participating.

The funding comes at a crucial time, as mobile commerce is expected to receive a significant boost from the upcoming holiday season. The expected mobile commerce numbers are likely to attract the attention of any holdouts that still do not offer a mobile commerce experience.

Retailers gravitate to mcommerce
The funding will provide Branding Brand with the support it needs to continue to grow as more retailers look to launch mobile commerce sites and existing clients look to step up their mobile commerce strategy.

Mobile devices are expected to be heavily used by consumers this holiday season with 16 percent of consumers planning to do all or most of their holiday shopping via a smartphone or tablet, up from just 3 percent a year ago, according to the recent fourth annual “Mindset of a Multichannel Shopper” survey from MarketLive. Additionally, 29 percent of consumers plan to use their mobile phone to research gifts prior to a store visit, up from 12 percent a year ago.

Additionally, a recent report from IBM found that mobile generated 15.7 percent and 15.4 percent of online sales, respectively, during the back-to-school shopping months of July and August. With mobile sales exceeding 20 percent in August for some verticals, IBM expects mobile sales to well exceed 20 percent this coming holiday season.

Branding Brand was founded in 2008 and has grown to more than 100 employees.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York