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Co-buyer websites seek discounts for all

A new breed of group buying websites promise the kind of discounts previously only available to retailers … as long as enough people sign up

Consumers are being offered the chance to join forces to get a better price on products and experiences, thanks to a clutch of recently launched co-buying websites.

The sites, which claim to offer the same kind of bulk-buy discounts previously only available to retailers, list dicounted items for a limited period of time. The discount is only available as long as enough co-buyers sign up for the deal.

Gideon Lask, who set up the latest site, BuyaPowa, says co-buying represents the next step in the evolution of internet shopping.

Lask, who previously worked on e-commerce websites for Universal Music and HMV, says: “First there were sites like Amazon, which were like traditional retailers, then we saw the auction sites like eBay, then we have had all the voucher sites, and now we will see co-buying sites like BuyaPowa.”

On the BuyaPowa site, which launched officially on Wednesday, prices go down as more people join the deal, and the person who brings in the most co-buyers gets their item free.

The site, which has been running for several weeks in beta mode, offers products in three categories: technology, beauty and family. Postage and packing will be free on some products, and BuyaPowa says it will aim to fulfil orders within five days.

A wooden bike by toy company Pintoy will be among the launch week deals. It has a RRP of £65. If one person signs up this drops to £40, then for every 25 additional people the price drops by £5, until 75 people are signed up and the price falls to £25 (plus £3.99 p&p).

Another deal for a pink Apple SmartCover for an iPad will see the price fall from a RRP of £34.99 to £17.99 (with free p&p) if more than 75 co-buyers sign up.

This means that those who sign up early on in the deal are taking a chance on what the eventual price will be – once you sign up you are agreeing to the purchase regardless of whether the price falls further or not – and gives them another incentive to encourage other people to sign up.

Lask says the site represents “a win-win situation for everyone. Consumers save money on the products they most want, and brands have a new and exciting way to engage directly with their customers using the channels they love”.

Visitors to BuyaPowa are encouraged to request deals they would like to see on the site, although Lask has conceded that the chances of seeing the latest iPads on offer were very slim

BuyaPowa is not the first co-buying site to hit the internet. Groupon offers discounts on a range of goods and services sent to your inbox, as long as enough people sign up to a deal, while Incahoot negotiates group deals on energy and phone tariffs.

Flubit, which launched in August, is based on the same premise as BuyaPowa, allowing shoppers to unite and create their own discount deals. Recent deals include 40% off the RRP on Urbanz headphones, reducing them to £11.99 (plus £2 p&p), and 65% off a Gordon Ramsay food processor, reducing it to £49.99 (with free p&p).

Flubit founder Bertie Stephens says: “Groupon and Groupon clones offer you huge discount deals for things you don’t want. We allow people to get good deals on the exact things they do want.”

Kidoo, a site focussing on deals for families, launched during the summer. It offers discounts on products for a limited time, subject to enough people signing up for the deal. But the products available seem quite niche – the deal currently advertised on the homepage is a maternity nightdress.

Lask says his BuyaPowa site differs from other co-buying sites because it was able to bring the price down as more people signed up. © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds