When Todd Chipman, co-founder of San Jose, CA-based Spreezio, noticed more and more merchants were going out of business where he lives and works as a result of the recession and other factors, he started thinking about ways to make shopping locally more social and personal for both buyers and sellers.
Spreezio is the startup that came out of that idea, and today Chipman is announcing that he’s not alone in thinking it’s a good one.
He has just managed to sway Rich Garwood, a President of Verizon Wireless, into leaving the company he spent 20 years working for and joining the fledgling company as COO. Enough for us take a closer look at what they’re building, even though the service is still in alpha and only expects to hit public beta sometime next month.
Spreezio basically wants to make it easier for shoppers to make deals with local merchants.
Here’s how it works: you sign up as a shopper, and browse Spreezio’s product database – over 35 million items strong according to the company – to find what you’re looking for, using the category icons or search bar. Once you’ve found a corresponding item, you can indicate how much you’d be willing to pay for it or what percentage of discount you’d expect in order to get you to go out and buy it from the merchants who can supply it. After some fine-tuning, you can send out your deal proposal to the merchant(s) Spreezio will locate on a map, and once they get back to you accepting or rejecting your proposal, you can decide if you want to make a short trip and purchase the item(s) either way.
All in all, it’s a solid idea: shoppers tell merchants what their buying terms are simply by clicking a couple of buttons on a web service, while local sellers get qualified leads and still be in a position to negotiate. Spreezio touts their service as a cure or anti-dote for the economic recession, which is evidently a bit over the top, but if it manages to get the necessary traction (which is going to be their main challenge) it could well be a big help for a lot of local merchants struggling to stay in business.
And you can could a good deal on that flat-screen TV you’ve been wanting to buy, too.
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