Price comparison tools can help shoppers save money. But they can also help small retailers get their products in front of more people. PriceWaiter is a plugin that works to help both of those groups. You can read more about the tool and the company behind it in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Offers a browser extension for finding online deals.
Co-founder and CEO Stephen Culp told Small Business Trends, “PriceWaiter saves you money, time and energy by negotiating better deals for you on products you shop for virtually anywhere on the web — simply, quickly, privately. You download the PriceWaiter browser extension and then you go shopping. If you see something you like, let’s say on Amazon.com, you pick a product PriceWaiter thinks can save you money on, you see a banner that says ‘Make an offer.’ You name your price and then PriceWaiter takes over to find the best possible deal for you.”
Providing benefits for both consumers and retailers.
Culp says, “From a consumer perspective: PriceWaiter is known for saving people money by negotiating better deals for them on virtually anything anywhere on the web — simply, quickly, and privately. From an SMB perspective, leveling the playing field — giving smaller retailers the chance to earn new customers directly from their largest competitors’ sites, even from Amazon.com.”
How the Business Got Started
Out of necessity.
Culp explains, “As founders of an ecommerce company (Smart Furniture) and a digital marketing company (Delegator), we knew the challenges of buying and selling in the most efficient market in history — the internet — and more specifically the challenges for smaller to midsize sellers, such as ecommerce, comparison shopping, and rising customer acquisition costs. As shoppers, we knew we wanted to save money. As past manufacturers, we knew we wanted to protect the public integrity and value of brands and pricing. We wanted something that would benefit all constituencies — and we’ve found that simple, quick, private, and ultimately ubiquitous negotiation is it.”
Genuinely improving the buying experience.
Culp adds, “As I mentioned, the internet is the most efficient market in history, and negotiation is as old as trade, so it needed an upgrade. PriceWaiter is that upgrade.”
Creating an entirely new offering.
Culp says, “Instead of incremental improvements of something already well established, starting PriceWaiter involved a lot of outright invention from the start (and big questions like how to make negotiation simple and virtually ubiquitous). The result was often slower development, more customer education, and more taking riskier, less certain paths, than a more traditional track would have taken.”
Raise capital early.
Culp explains, “While being cash-starved can make you more efficient, when you’re going after an opportunity as big as this one, it can also slow you down.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Growing the team.
Culp says, “We know where we need to go, so we’d hire another team member to help us go faster.”
What the Company Is Known For
Culp explains, “The pinnacle of our marketing achievement has to be serving bacon every year from our booth at every trade show (think: “PriceWaiter helps you bring home the bacon…”) We’ve served hundred and hundreds of pounds of bacon, and we’re known for it. If we don’t serve it, people revolt. If you’ve ever been on your feet all day at a trade show, we can confirm the smell of bacon will get those feet moving — to the PriceWaiter booth.”
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Images: PriceWaiter; Top Image (left to right): Dirk Unkle (head of retail partnerships), Mike Estes (CTO) and Andrew Scarbrough (co-founder and COO)