We recently wrote about the alpha launch of Spreezio, a platform that makes it easier for shoppers to make deals with local merchants. Today, the shopping engine has launched a new version of the site with a complete redesign and more intelligent technology.
Here’s how Spreezio works: you sign up as a shopper, and browse Spreezio’s product database, which includes over 35 million items, 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. You then can send out your deal proposal to the local merchants (which 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.
Consumers get a more intelligent engine to not only bargain with local merchants for their desired items, but also local merchants get qualified leads from the inquiries (without the added expense of sales and advertising). The new interface has been upgraded to return only the best accepted or counteroffered deals from local merchants, weeding out some of the less attractive or expensive deals. And to increase the value of their offer, local merchants are allowed to offer “freebies” like free gift wrapping, free delivery, and more in their responses to win customer business, so it is not just based on price.
Of course, in order for the shopping engine to be appealing to consumers, it needs a large amount of retailers to sign up. In the past few months, Spreezio has accumulated a list of over 100 national, well-known retailers to accept or counter shoppers’ offers, including Macy’s, Nordstroms, Best Buy, Target, and Sears.
Marketed as an antidote to the recession, the shopping engine could work if enough consumers and merchants engage with the site. The idea is sound but the startup’s biggest hurdle will be gaining a loyal following in an already crowded online shopping engine field.