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Pricemaker turns marketplace on its head

Pricemaker turns marketplace on its head

There's been no shortage of e-commerce and auction sites popping up recently, and the latest to join the fray is Pricemaker, a reverse auction platform for buying new, higher-priced items from traditional bricks and mortar retailers.

The buyer and seller roles are essentially switched – a consumer starts an auction by telling Pricemaker what they want to buy and offers are then placed for the requested item by local retailers.

Retailers, including Magness Benrow and 100%, can see the offers other retailers have made, and edit their bid to remain competitive.

“The deals get better for the buyer as the auction progresses. But an offer isn’t just about the price of the item; retailers can also offer ‘deal sweeteners’, such as extended warranties or free delivery,” says Pricemaker chief executive Erin Walshe.

Currently active categories include TVs and whiteware and there are more to come if the site is successful, as other retailers have expressed interest contingent on consumer interest. Buyers can sign up using their Facebook account.

A limited launch is underway in Auckland and Wellington, with a national roll-out in the pipeline.

Walshe came up with the idea for Pricemaker in 2008 while "shopping around for a TV with the kids around my ankles".

"I thought ‘why can’t this be easier?’ while dragging my daughter away from the PS3.

"Back then, it wouldn’t have worked. But now that smartphones are in every second pocket and online shopping is more commonplace, the idea has become much more viable.”