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Roast My Idea: Aggregator for open-box and returned products

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PizzaOnTheRoof

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Lots of "open box" products are returned lightly used or not even used at all. Technically, since the product was opened, the seller can't sell it as new anymore, so they may mark it down pretty substantially to get it off the shelf.

Of course, stores like Best Buy and Walmart make it easy to search on their site for open box items already, however they have limited stock of only certain items, and the exact same item might be available somewhere else cheaper.

The idea is to simply make an aggregator website that will scrape listing info off of hundreds of these sites and present it to shoppers.

Biggest issue I see is monetization. Large retailers won't care and shoppers won't pay for a glorified search engine. Display Ads may work but will be intrusive to users and rely on massive volume.
 

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drahz

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Lots of "open box" products are returned lightly used or not even used at all. Technically, since the product was opened, the seller can't sell it as new anymore, so they may mark it down pretty substantially to get it off the shelf.

Of course, stores like Best Buy and Walmart make it easy to search on their site for open box items already, however they have limited stock of only certain items, and the exact same item might be available somewhere else cheaper.

The idea is to simply make an aggregator website that will scrape listing info off of hundreds of these sites and present it to shoppers.

Biggest issue I see is monetization. Large retailers won't care and shoppers won't pay for a glorified search engine. Display Ads may work but will be intrusive to users and rely on massive volume.

You can try drop-shipping then, they can buy from you if you still can find some room in the price for a margin.
 

Ronak

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Most sites have an affiliate program, you can use that to validate the market.
 

Johnny boy

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You might have an edge if you can get the items to pop up on google shopping. If I search for an item like a LG 4k TV and you have one pop up for 30% less than any other one, I might click and check it out on your website. It's a great place to be for this type of business. Google results are just blue letters. You get the same space as best buy or apple, and if you have the lowest price, you're sure to get a lot of people interested.

I like this idea.

Monetization is possible too. At the very least you can resell to make a profit.
 

Kid

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Since you asked for roasting
Biggest issue I see is monetization.
Its not.
Your biggest issue is "live availability check".

Consider customer going to your store:
1. He clicks, goes to retailer -> "Sold out" welcomes him
2. He goes back and click other product -> "Sold out" welcomes him again.

He leaves and never visit your site again.
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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Since you asked for roasting

Its not.
Your biggest issue is "live availability check".

Consider customer going to your store:
1. He clicks, goes to retailer -> "Sold out" welcomes him
2. He goes back and click other product -> "Sold out" welcomes him again.

He leaves and never visit your site again.
True this will be an issue, though I think with some fancy coding know how I can see if a listing is marked "in stock" or not. Most e-commerce sites have an ID or tag that marks it sold out.
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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You might have an edge if you can get the items to pop up on google shopping. If I search for an item like a LG 4k TV and you have one pop up for 30% less than any other one, I might click and check it out on your website. It's a great place to be for this type of business. Google results are just blue letters. You get the same space as best buy or apple, and if you have the lowest price, you're sure to get a lot of people interested.

I like this idea.

Monetization is possible too. At the very least you can resell to make a profit.
Great idea man. Thanks!
 

Antifragile

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What if you had a sign up list which would somehow be coded to reflect personal choices.
For example, like John said - someone wants a TV. They aren't in stock because you recently sold out. But you can sign up for a mail list, but this list is unique in that you only get an email IF the tag of "TV" and "60 inch" are met as a condition. You then have 1 hour to buy or it gets listed on the website for all.
 

BizyDad

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Since you asked for roasting

Its not.
Your biggest issue is "live availability check".

Consider customer going to your store:
1. He clicks, goes to retailer -> "Sold out" welcomes him
2. He goes back and click other product -> "Sold out" welcomes him again.

He leaves and never visit your site again.
In order to qualify for Google shopping as suggested, you'll have to actually have a buy button on the site and take the money.

Then the biggest headache becomes the refunds when you can't supply because the retailer's website wasn't up to date. And I'm sure handling returns will be a problem too.
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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In order to qualify for Google shopping as suggested, you'll have to actually have a buy button on the site and take the money.

Then the biggest headache becomes the refunds when you can't supply because the retailer's website wasn't up to date. And I'm sure handling returns will be a problem too.
It'll be very clear to any user that they aren't buying from my site but simply finding the deals using it. They'll buy the product on the retailers website.

Here's a quick "MVP" site I made to throw some traffic at and see what happens.

 

Antifragile

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Excellent!!!

looking forward to updates.
 

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BizyDad

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It'll be very clear to any user that they aren't buying from my site but simply finding the deals using it. They'll buy the product on the retailers website.
Then you won't qualify for Google shopping, but that doesn't mean it's a bad idea.

I like the aforementioned idea of building a dynamic email list to incorporate into this, and giving them an exclusive window to purchase.
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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Then you won't qualify for Google shopping, but that doesn't mean it's a bad idea.

I like the aforementioned idea of building a dynamic email list to incorporate into this, and giving them an exclusive window to purchase.
Yeah Google shopping is out but that’s ok. There’s other ways to grow.

A dynamic email list would be interesting. Only issue with that I see is I’d have to have exclusive access to that deal or hold stock myself.
 

BizyDad

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Maybe it doesn't need to be exclusive.

I'm not sure the technical aspects, but a value proposition of "get notified as soon as we put a deal live that meets your criteria" (with improved copywriting, haha) should suffice.
 

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Maybe it doesn't need to be exclusive.

I'm not sure the technical aspects, but a value proposition of "get notified as soon as we put a deal live that meets your criteria" (with improved copywriting, haha) should suffice.

You monetize it with subscription model. Minimum fee but access to deals at cost. It’s just to find them, you have to be on the paid list etc.
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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Maybe it doesn't need to be exclusive.

I'm not sure the technical aspects, but a value proposition of "get notified as soon as we put a deal live that meets your criteria" (with improved copywriting, haha) should suffice.

You monetize it with subscription model. Minimum fee but access to deals at cost. It’s just to find them, you have to be on the paid list etc.
I like both of these, especially the subscription model if I can bring enough value.

Kind of like Scott's Cheap Flights.
 

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That’s the pitch - value. For example, you can see the deal but to get the “link” to buy it, you must subscribe for some small amount that when netted to the deal makes it super cheap.
$10 subscription when $45 saved instantly means nothing.

Edit: scaling happens when people are happy with the deals and tell friends. Also renewal is automatically updated annually unless canceled.
 
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PizzaOnTheRoof

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That’s the pitch - value. For example, you can see the deal but to get the “link” to buy it, you must subscribe for some small amount that when netted to the deal makes it super cheap.
$10 subscription when $45 saved instantly means nothing.

Edit: scaling happens when people are happy with the deals and tell friends. Also renewal is automatically updated annually unless canceled.
Yeah, there's a few other generic deal sites out there that I imagine rely on affiliate income. I'll have to come up with some way to add massive value to customers that others simply don't offer.

Quick idea, what about pooling subscription money together to offer cash back/discounts to users? I imagine most people will subscribe and not use the service often other than to buy a TV or gift once or twice a year.

"View deals for free, become a member for $10/mo and save an average of 15% on _________!"

Or just make the entire site member only.
 

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Can you out-market your competition? Even same product / offering can have a marketing skew first and allow you to scale up to start offering even bigger value back. Sort of like Amazon back in the day, aiming to give fast delivery even to non-prime members. Slowly converted a ton to prime.
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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Can you out-market your competition? Even same product / offering can have a marketing skew first and allow you to scale up to start offering even bigger value back. Sort of like Amazon back in the day, aiming to give fast delivery even to non-prime members. Slowly converted a ton to prime.
I think so considering they don’t advertise haha.

I want to build a brand though too.
 
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Kid

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Ok, i got idea for you.

10% discount isn't much especially because of opened box and fear of unknown state of a product.

But what if your value skew was "Only products that are 40%-90%" discounted!"
This would be a deal that might bring people to membership.

And it sounds like good USP.

(Also since huge discount would make less in affiliate fees, such membership
would be better monetization.)



Maybe you could even have upper tier membership plan for people who flip items
for money with more deals sent per day (vs basic plan).
 

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PizzaOnTheRoof

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Ok, i got idea for you.

10% discount isn't much especially because of opened box and fear of unknown state of a product.

But what if your value skew was "Only products that are 40%-90%" discounted!"
This would be a deal that might bring people to membership.

And it sounds like good USP.

(Also since huge discount would make less in affiliate fees, such membership
would be better monetization.)



Maybe you could even have upper tier membership plan for people who flip items
for money with more deals sent per day (vs basic plan).
Interesting. Though I don't know how I'd get access to or be able to fund these deep deals?
 

Antifragile

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I’ll borrow @Kak ”think big, then think BIGGER”.

Could you create a disruptive business for Amazon by only dealing with open box items? Buy and distribute them? Let others on your platform?

of course it all starts with a small but successful step that you are already doing / testing.
 

Kid

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Though I don't know how I'd get access to or be able to fund these deep deals?
That's a problem indeed.
Also there wouldn't be that much of them.

What if you would do something like GameStop?
Lowball people in exchange for instant cash for some common products
to be sold online.

Its different business model, i'm thinking out loud.
 

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