Higgle Lets Like-Minded Shoppers Name Their Price When They Buy Together

Higgle is a recently launched website where consumers can set the price that they want to pay; in exchange, all they need to do is convince enough friends to join in.

Higgle is both the name of the company and the term it uses for the discount offers that consumers can make to merchants on the site, combining haggling and bulk discounts, where merchants cut prices in exchange for selling a certain amount of product. When you find a product that you like on the site, you’ll also see the suggested retail price, and you can make an offer to buy it for below that price.

Then you try to enlist other people to buy the product at the same price — Higgle tells you how many others need to join the higgle for the merchant to give you the discount (the bigger the discount, the more people you need, presumably).

“Higgle is two-way negotiation, giving both sides the opportunity to make a deal by bringing what they have to the table,” co-founder and CEO Lara Aldag told me via email. “For users it’s their network and connections and influence; for merchants it’s their pricing flexibility.”

To recruit other buyers, you can tell friends and followers by posting the higgle on social networks. At the same time, it’s not limited to people you know — the deal is actually visible and joinable to anyone on Higgle itself. You can also create groups of like-minded buyers and share deals with them.

If enough people join in a three-day timespan, then hooray, you get the product at the suggested discount (with free shipping, too). If not, Higgle will send you a counteroffer for a smaller discount, which each participant can decide to accept or not on their own to accept.

The merchants are selected by Higgle, which says it automates the haggling/higgling and counteroffer process for them (after merchants enter their initial pricing parameters). Products are offered in categories like fashion, health and beauty, and “geek.” Most of the higgles I saw when I was browsing the site today offered discounts in the 30 to 50 percent range, but there are no explicit limits on your offer — though if you go too low, the site will reject it and ask you to “be fair.”

Higgle was in private testing for the past six months before opening to the general public this week.