This startup company offers a range of products which site users can vote for. If a member manages to get a buzz going among a number of his contacts, the item in question will then be offered for sale at an attractive price.

‘Group buying’ websites initially enjoyed rapid success. The fact is however that interest in these sites has waned somewhat recently, mainly because the products on offer don’t always correspond to consumers’ real needs. One solution therefore might be to give the customers a role in the process, allowing them to actually choose the products which are to carry price reductions. This is the Pricebuzz formula. We caught up with Pricebuzz CEO Stéphane Cohen at the ‘Time 2 Market’ conference in Paris. The startup company has developed a shopping website where only products which have been specially selected by Internet users are offered for sale. If s/he wants to take advantage of substantial reductions or deals on these items, a user needs to create a wide buzz to attract customers.

Cast your vote and influence people if you want a deal

How it works is that the platform makes a catalogue of some 200,000 products available, listed by category, such as fashion, IT, leisure, etc. A site visitor can vote for any article that s/he is interested in. Once the article has received a large enough number of votes to be listed among those specially selected, Pricebuzz’s partner companies will step in and offer a group deal or special reduction to the people who voted for it. So, if you want to obtain a deal on an item, you have to get your friends and acquaintances to come on board. The site provides ‘social’ tools to help you to do this, for example, a facility for posting comments on an article. These comments then automatically appear on your News Feed and can be seen by your contacts, in the same way as on Facebook.

Borrow the best ideas from the best performers

So, the News Feed provides a means for Pricebuzz to inform users about what’s new on the site and provide updates on freshly available products. Secondly it also helps create a network of friends, which – provided these friends share the same tastes – can prove a real channel of influence. Moreover, as users can register with the platform via their Facebook profiles, the product votes can also be published on this popular social network, thus helping to attract even more potential customers. "Longer term, we also plan to enable users to create ‘style books’", explained Stéphane Cohen. Similar to the Pinterest pinboards, these would enable Internet users to create lists of ideal presents from the articles that are available on the Pricebuzz site, providing yet another means of encouraging people to vote.