A 'reverse auction' site aimed at bicycle retailers has been launched by James Mullins.
Like-bikes.co.uk invites consumers to post their requirements, which retailers may then 'bid' for, by posting their best match. Those bidding for the customer are able to make their product more attractive by mentioning service extras, delivery times and more.
Mullins told BikeBiz: "Traditionally, the internet is seen as an extension of a 'shop window' for bike retailers. They detail what they have to sell and publish pricing. It is up to the consumer to “troll” through all of the available sites and select the appropriate good or service at the price that they are prepared to pay.
"This raises a number of issues, such as:
1. How much time does it take the consumer to visit all possible sites to find the desired item?
2. Is the published price the lowest price that the retailer is actually prepared to sell at?
3. What happens to the local bike shop, how do they compete against the larger brands?
"Like-Bikes would like to level the playing field for retailers, allowing all of them who participate on our website to provide their lowest price. This increases the opportunity for discounts to the consumer, hence driving down the cost of biking. The theory is that by opening up the market to increased competition, by default the prices will drop. How much does this service cost the bike consumer? Nothing, it's free of charge. There is absolutely no cost to “buyers” wishing to use our service."
The auction component of the website will be operation from the 1st of June.