Cleverly using barcodes to sky-rocket online sales of used goods
The now fourth largest e-commerce site in France, Price Minister
, sells… used goods! Although the idea is simple and many players operate in similar fields, Price Minister focuses on a small number of highly desirable product categories, thus avoiding the clutter and chaos of many other online market places.
Members, currently numbering 550,000, can sell their used CDs, DVDs, games, phones and PDAs on the website. Since they send sold items directly to the buyers, there are no inventory or shipping headaches for Price Minister.
But the truly innovative twist is that Price Minister decides which products can be put on offer. Their database contains all necessary info about these products. The only thing a potential seller has to do is to submit the barcode of a product they have at home (and which is featured in the database), and Price Minister adds them to the list of sellers for that particular item.
Besides being an ultra friendly process for Frenchies who want to flog their stuff, this system also creates a consistency and clarity of product information that is impossible to achieve on competing sites where sellers are allowed to enter any information they like.
Sellers can pick their own price, but the maximum is 50% of the fixed new retail value. The set-up creates an almost amazon.com-like experience for shoppers, with the only difference being that all items on sale are second-hand.
Not forgetting the traditional ties between second hand goods and charity, sellers have the option to donate the proceeds of a sale to “Croix Rouge Française”, the French Red Cross.
If an actual sale takes place, Price Minister takes a 15% cut. The company is profitable.
Springwise is not aware of any similar initiatives on this massive scale outside France. Plenty of second chances!
12th December 2002