Doug Root, co-owner and president of the lighting products wholesaler and retailer, knows that lightbulbs aren’t a sexy purchase. They’re a commodity product that shoppers don’t get excited about as they might with a new sweater or an iPhone, he says. That’s why consumers may pay more for a sweater they love, but will always want the cheapest price for lightbulbs because they’re a common item available anywhere, he says.
To better attract customers with competitive pricing, Root decided to add a feature to his e-commerce site, AtlantaLightBulbs.com, that lets customers negotiate with his company for a better price. About 75% of Atlanta Light Bulbs’ sales are to businesses, which often place high-volume orders. So if customers can get a per-unit price reduced by even 25 cents, it can make a big difference in their total cost, he says.
The tool is from PriceWaiter. Here’s how it works: On a product detail page, the merchant displays a “Let’s make a deal” button that opens the PriceWaiter application. A customer enters the price he’d like to pay per unit.
PriceWaiter lets the merchant set pricing rules for each of its SKUs that factor in such variables as a product’s profit margin and the quantity the consumer wants to buy. For example, the merchant may set up a rule that accepts a lower price on a 10,000-unit order than on a 100-unit order. The software will automatically accept the offer if the price meets the rule’s specifications. If the shopper’s offer is too low, the software will show the shopper the lowest price Atlanta Light Bulbs will accept for the product at that volume. Atlanta Light Bulbs will only negotiate on orders worth more than $100.
Atlanta Light Bulbs also configured its website to trigger a “Let’s make a deal” pop-up window to appear if a shopper is about to leave its website without placing an order. Atlanta Light Bulbs uses heat-mapping technology to know when a shopper moves her mouse toward a web page Back button or the page-closing “X” button, Root says.
Since implementing the button a year ago, about 5% to 7% of orders now go through PriceWaiter, Root says. In the past year, shoppers used PriceWaiter to make 3,600 offers on products, and about 1,200 of those turned into purchases, or roughly 100 a month, Root says.
Root says he would not have received these orders if he did not offer the negotiation button. “There’s always that argument that [those shoppers] would have purchased anyway, but I don’t think they would have,” Root says. “These are the people who want a deal—people who want to feel like they got a deal no matter what.”
In the first three months of this year, internet revenue has increased 25% year over year for Atlanta Light Bulbs, and Root attributes a portion of this bump to PriceWaiter.
It took a couple weeks for the retailer to get the feature set up, but only about 24 total hours of work, Root says. The bulk of the work was in setting up the rules for each SKU, he says. PriceWaiter takes about a 3-5% commission on each sales transaction, Root says.
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