Prices on the Internet are constantly changing in response to a range of variables that the general public is often unaware of. Paribus has taken on the task of tracking these price variations and obtaining reimbursement on behalf of online shoppers when merchants signal a lower price post-purchase.
“Large companies amass tons of data on Internet users. This data is then used by the online shopping giants, with Amazon out in the lead, to personalise prices and adjust them dynamically according to a range of variables – date, available stocks, people’s shopping habits, even the weather. The data can also be simply sold on as a product to other companies. At Paribus, we want to collect data in order to help users,” explains Chief Technology Officer Karim Atiyeh.
How it works is that Paribus uses an API to connect to a user’s inbox and find the receipts for online purchases made over the last 30 days. Armed with this information, the startup will then automatically track any variations appearing in the price of that particular product. If the price of the item falls soon after the customer has made his/her purchase, an email will be sent automatically to the merchant on behalf of the customer, requesting a refund to the amount of the difference. The merchant must then decide whether or not to reimburse the customer. Paribus takes 25% commission on any refunds obtained.
To ensure that Paribus remains a viable business going forward, the startup is looking to forge partnerships with a number of brands. The young company is already working with twenty or so partners, including Walmart, Macy’s, Bloomingdales and Amazon, and has come up with creative ideas for some of them. “For instance we’ve been working on an offer for one of our partners. Instead of being directly reimbursed $10, the user will receive a voucher for $15 to be used on the same e-commerce site,” reveals Karim Atiyeh. With this kind of approach, users enjoy an even better deal financially, while the brands benefit from a free loyalty programme, which adds up to a win-win situation.