Have you ever wished you could pay $150 for a $229 iPod Touch because it was all you had in your wallet? Or how about wishing you could pay just a few dollars for a $25 Starbucks gift card because you just didn’t feel like paying $25? If only the world was that flexible, right? If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, your wish is about to come true. Bada bing bada— Drop ‘Til You Shop.
Drop ‘Til You Shop is one of the latest e-commerce start-ups to find its home in Philadelphia, despite founders Nick Rosenthal and David Stein’s Australian origins. As MUSE Consulting’s current client, it has been capturing the attention of the Penn community with its simple concept: the start-up allows consumers to choose from an eclectic collection of items and pay what their heart desires. Find those top-of-the-line wireless speakers desirable? Just wait until it drops to a price level that appeals to you. Want the price to fall faster? Just invite your friends to take a gander at the site; the more people that are on the site at any given time, the faster the prices drop. Sounds easy enough. However, once you lock a price, the item isn’t guaranteed until you’ve checked out. While this seems like common sense (choose an item, pay for it, then it’s yours), it’s worth mentioning because you are competing against other people who locked the item’s price at a level of their choosing, and they are also trying to check out to make the item theirs. So, if you’re not quick enough, you lose your chances of owning the item. Drop ‘Til You Shop is all about making the shopping experience fun.
Unless you’re at an auction, naming your own price for highly-commoditized products is pretty much unheard of. A quick visit to the site lets you see first-hand how people are embracing this new concept, with enthusiasm that is reflected by the rapidity with which items turn. At its core, the secret of the start-up is that it successfully implements a Dutch auction strategy. The price starts higher than what an item’s market value is and gradually decreases until it hits a price that a bidder is willing to pay. As someone who was skeptical of the concept at first, I found myself mildly surprised when I realized that I had spent the whole hour (Drop ‘Til You Shop currently only runs on Fridays at 3 p.m. EST for an hour) on the website, trying to see if I could actually win an item I was interested in. It is addicting. Needless to say, I am not very good at the Drop ‘Til You Shop game—other Penn students do seem to be quite apt, however.
Penn students have been instrumental in the development of the website. Nick asserts that its success is dependent on a highly engaged user base, and not on item margins. Nick and David also hope to revolutionize the future of online advertising. The technology behind Drop ‘Til You Shop can be applied to advertisements on websites, meaning that users can play the Drop ‘Til You Shop game to win an item within an ad banner, locking prices wherever they may be. In essence, Nick and David hope to add value to online advertising, and add a little bit of color to the currently bland arena.
To those that have experienced Drop ‘Til You Shop, it is no surprise why it’s quickly being recognized as a platform that will pave the way not only for the future of online retail, but also for advertising. Be sure to check out this cool new start-up, and leave a comment below if you managed to lock an item!