LONDON — Peer-to-peer marketplace, iBuySell, has launched a platform that aims to connect sellers with buyers and offer a peer-to-peer mobile shopping experience through rapid online auctions.
Shoppers can now engage in live auctions and the app will offer deals in categories including fashion, clothing, jewelry, shoes, home and tech with sales lasting as short as 90 seconds. Brands featured include Coach, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade, Nike and Ralph Lauren. Pricing is determined by the individual sellers with discounts ranging from 50 to 80 percent off.
“IBuySell is based on a balance of search and discovery,” cofounder Kaustuva Mukherjee told WWD. “The most important section of the app is the Live Sale Section. A shopper discovers new products every few moments under several categories using our real-time technology. The prices keep falling [from already discounted prices] rapidly for a short duration of time for as little as 90 seconds. Shoppers can adopt the strategy of waiting for prices to come lower and hit the freeze button to lock in the desired price and then they get 15 minutes to complete the purchase at the checkout section.”
The company was founded by a husband-and-wife team, Kaustuva and Suchi Mukherjee, a technologist and a realtor, respectively. They shared a passion for shipping and technology and wanted to create a platform where “bargain hunting was a fun and engaging competition.”
“My wife and I are avid shoppers and love to shop auction sites such as eBay but we hated the long wait for auctions which took sometimes seven days or more,” Kaustuva Mukherjee said. “We also disliked the fact that we had to bid every time and many times we would forget to bid on an item and would lose out. We also started a retail business and found it took too long to sell, and it took a ridiculous amount of upfront costs and time to get things moving and get your brand discovered. We also found that after an item sells the fees were outrageous on many marketplaces and profit margins were low.”
Mukherjee said his expectation is that the concept will revolutionize the peer-to-peer marketplace world and become a platform for shoppers worldwide to discover products internationally. “There are millions of small entrepreneurs, retailers, consignment sellers around the world who would love to expose their brand to millions at a fraction of a cost while helping them to drive sales and improve conversion.”
He said the primary audience is women who love to shop fashion and jewelry although the platform also takes in home decor items and the latest tech gadgets. Operating costs are low and there is no warehouse or inventory.
Mukherjee said the platform is different from a flash sales site in that “typical flash sales sites have prices on a fixed discount for 24 hours or 7 days, as an example. At iBuySell the window of sale is short — around 90 seconds — the prices fall rapidly, giving the shoppers a sense of urgency, rush and excitement, and sellers get to showcase their products at a faster pace, excite their buyers and engage them to drive sales, improve conversion and give a better exposure to client.”
While product listings are free, vendors can either pay a transaction fee, which ranges from 5 percent to 15 percent, or a monthly fee which starts at $29. As a buyer, it is free to sign up and shoppers are offered perks, such as the ability to earn credit by referring friends.
Mukherjee said competitors include platforms such as Tophatter, Poshmark, Vinted, Thredup and Mercari.
The app will be available on iPhone, iPad and Android platforms in more than 130 countries as of June 7.