Online shopping platform puts the negotiation into buying

An Australian startup is making online shopping more collaborative by allowing consumers and retailers to negotiate prices.


BuyMeStuff caters to consumers interested in buying electronics, appliances, and hair and beauty care products. Launched in December last year, buyers can select the product they want and receive an immediate offer from a retailer or wait 24 hours for a chance to get a better one. Retailers can also set prices based on demand for the product. Multiple retailers selling the same product can bid against each other to secure the buyer’s interest. A ‘discount condition’ provides additional discounts during a particular time period or to certain regions if an item is generating a lot of demand in an area.


If a buyer declines an offer, they are asked the reason in order to inform the retailer. A feature called ‘Desire List’ allows the buyer to list the amount they want to pay for a product. If it matches with the price set by the retailer, they receive an offer. The website caters to all sorts of consumers, from students to tech-savvy people who like the latest gadgets to people looking for bargains.


Among its competitors is Sydney-based startup Alphatise, which launched in August last year.


Director and co-founder Mahendra Harish says there is an absence of dialogue between retailers and consumers in the market.


“In the real world, prices are fixed. Static pricing means that retailers are losing revenue from overseas competitors. The retailers we have are Australian-based,” he says.


“Additionally, the pay-per-click model means that retailers are paying for something that doesn’t always translate into sales. We only charge for a sale and are risk-free for retailers. We also let them know the revenue made and losses incurred in cases where they lose a buyer. During bids, we don’t reveal the winning price and every retailer likes that.


“Buyers see the shipping price included in the final price. On eBay, for instance, you have to use a lot of filters to buy a product and they charge 9% to 10% on it. We charge retailers a ballpark figure between 5% and 6% on a sale, which excludes shipping. We also do the marketing for the retailer, something which does not exist widely yet.”


Harish says he is targeting small and medium-sized businesses who sell consumer electronics because bigger electronics companies want to see growth in the market before getting on-board. The platform currently has seven retailers from Melbourne and Sydney, with a further five in the pipeline. They have received 1500 user requests so far.


The startup is self-funded and wants to reach the “next level of scalability”, according to Harish and is looking for venture capital investment. For the moment they are concentrating on the Australian market and hoping to bring multiple dealers in one space.


“We want to have scalability in every vertical – in services, in niche markets like automobile parts and buying cars,” he says.


“Once we reach a particular scale, we want to expand into Asia and India. It depends on the right funding and we want to understand the market and see if it is ready for our website.”


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