Will iBuySell be the next big marketplace?

iBuySellThis week a new marketplace iBuySell launched with the promise to revolutionise peer to peer selling.

iBuySell officially announced the free iBuySell iPhone and Android app, available globally to app stores in over 130 countries. In reality however the site is US based, priced in dollars and none of the listings I have seen specify international shipping. In other words if you’re not in the US don’t get too excited yet.

iBuySell imageHowever don’t not get excited, iBuySell have a totally new selling and buying format. Rather than the traditional auction that last seven days, products are offered with a price that ticks down every second and is only live for 90 seconds. Sellers can of course set a minimum sell price.

If it drops to a price that you like you can freeze the price to lock in the item and make a purchase. Shoppers get 15 minutes to pay for their items after they have hit the freeze button and within 20 minutes vendors know which items have sold and at what price. You can of course set alerts for products you want to buy that are due to go on sale later in the day.

Sellers showcase discounted products in their online storefront called closets and buyers can choose to either browse and tag their favorite items to get notified once the items go live or can make an immediate purchase without waiting for the price to start dropping.

iBuySell are aiming to inject some fun and a sense of urgency into buying. It’s a split second decision between waiting for a lower price (and risk losing it to another shopper) and locking in the price now (and wonder if the price would have gone lower)!

I’m currently undecided on iBuySell but I definitely like the concept. It’s too new to be able to wholeheartedly recommend the platform and it’s too US centric. The format is also unproven and a concern has to be that once they achieve scale, selling just a dozen or so items per minute just doesn’t cut it. Contrast selling a handful of items a minute to eBay where a necklace is purchased every 10 seconds, a power tool every 9 seconds, a motorcycle part every 8 seconds and a make-up product every 3 seconds.

Having said that it’s obvious that any new marketplace needs to be markedly different to Amazon or eBay in order to succeed. Amazon already more than adequately fills the gap for the consumable items you want to buy and have delivered tomorrow. eBay’s strength isn’t immediate gratification with delivery tomorrow, but has a breadth of inventory where you can buy and sell almost anything – you won’t find that rare antique vase for sale on Amazon.

You can’t compete with these two giants in the UK as Rakuten eventually realised. Maybe iBuySell will one day be the marketplace than does compete by being different.