In the stock market you can create ‘buy orders’ (also called “limit orders”) which allow a trader to set an automatic ‘rule’ to buy (or sell) a stock when it reaches a specific price. So why not have that feature on Amazon, JCPenny, Staples, Sony – or a 3rd party site that will do the buying for you?
Imagine you want that SuperTooth Disco High Power Bluetooth Stereo Speaker, but you just aren’t willing to pay $103.81 for it… but you WOULD pay $85. Sure, you can shop around on eBay or uBid, but you don’t REALLY need the speaker (or you just LOVE Amazon) and you aren’t going to shop around.
Just like those ‘buy orders’ that the stock market uses – or like when a friend is headed to a comic book convention and you say “Hey, if you see a Superman #1 for less than $100, buy it for me and I’ll pay you back.” Why not have that option when buying other items from eCommerce websites?
I can imagine that e-tailers may not want a backfill of potential orders just sitting there, but it could also be a great tool for them to sell more product. If an online store has this feature and knows that 70% of the ‘buy orders’ are one or two percent below the retail price already set, they could do a temporary price drop, grab those orders, then raise the price again.
On the other hand, if a 3rd party website was to hold your credit card number (think Google Wallet) or PayPal account and you could create ‘buy orders’ on various websites for different products, you could have some pretty good buying power. There are similar 3rd party sites often called ‘snipers’ that are designed to auto-bid for you on eBay and other auction websites. These work fairly well, but auction sites often only have one of the items you want for sale. eCommerce sites usually have a full stock of the item you want.
How could this 3rd party site monetize this? Simply charge a nominal fee for placing the ‘buy order’. Perhaps 25 cents per order? Or follow the eBay model and do a percentage of the final purchase price? Another feature of this new site could be to send reports to the various e-tailers when there are X% of ‘buy orders’ waiting for a certain price. Those e-tailers could then subscribe to a feed of all users who are waiting for certain products to get a price drop…
What say you?