Innovation That Matters

Online retailers install widget to enable group buying


We’ve seen numerous examples of group buying over the years, but recently we came across technology that promises to enable many more. SyncFu is a free widget that any e-commerce website can install to let deal-seeking consumers team up for volume discounts. Online retailers begin by adding SyncFu to their site and then setting the quantity-price ratio for their relevant products. To join a group buying offer, customers need only click on the “Join Group Buy” or similar button on the seller’s website. They’re then presented with the SyncFu widget, which displays how the price drops as the size of the participating group grows. If interested, the customer leaves his or her email address and makes a micropayment of less than USD 2 by cellphone or credit card; he or she can also spread the word about the deal in the hopes of increasing the group size and lowering the price. SyncFu, meanwhile, gives each pledging consumer a code for use when shopping to receive the discount. At the end of the deadline for participation, all participants pay the most recently listed price. Since the deal is done directly in the seller’s web shop, there are no intermediaries; sellers keep all the profits. Italian SyncFu, meanwhile, is funded by buyers’ micropayments. By giving vendors a way to lead the group-buying initiatives—rather than following (and paying) via third-party aggregators like Groupon—SyncFu promises to shift power back to those on the selling end. One to try out on your own thriving e-commerce site? Spotted by: Peter Holwitz



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