Lately, we’ve been hearing more about shopping search start-up Spreezio, a kind of Priceline for merchandise (TechCrunch profiles it today). In other words, you name the price that represents the threshold at which you’d buy, and then see who bites.
This could come at the right time as we’re seeing more services that give greater control to consumers to dictate pricing. Groupon is a quickly growing service that carries this general theme, and TechCrunch 50 winner Redbeacon lets consumers send job offers to local service providers.
As with the above examples, one challenge is that it can only be as good as the number of merchants that are using the system and responding to offers. So far, the company has reportedly signed up “over 100″ merchants including Macy’s and Best Buy.
The chain-centric approach isn’t surprising nor a new challenge in the local shopping space: inventory data providers such as Krillion and ShopLocal have each tackled the decidedly easier “single point of entry” that is national retailers.
Mid-market and SMB segments will continue to be a challenge, no matter how enticing an offering is. Incidentally, it does seem to have some enticement as a lead source. Low barrier too; merchants pay Spreezio a percentage of conversions — something Krillion has indicated to be of interest to electronics retailers.
But another issue is that the differences in adoption among store managers could result in an uneven quality experience (will they manage it on an ongoing basis?). They’ll also be attracted based on usage, which in turn hinges on the quality/comprehensiveness for users … chicken and egg … blah, blah, blah.
On the other hand, it could be the right macroeconomic environment for this sort of offering to gain consumer traction. One wonders why it didn’t make a bigger splash six weeks ago. We’ll give it time to prove out.