A different kind of team buying.

A while ago, I wrote about how easy access to information has made consumers more powerful than ever. The rise of Groupon and other daily deal sites demonstrate this nicely. They offer retailers access to thousands of inboxes everyday. In exchange consumers get deep discounts on products and services.

In other countries (China especially) there is a different kind of team buying, which I find fascinating. The idea (often known as Tuangou) is simple: A group of consumers get together in person or virtually and form a collation intent on buying n a specific product. They offer to buy the product in bulk from the retailer that offers the lowest price. Companies in the U.S., such as ESwarm, are offering this opportunity to consumers.

…………………..Image credit here.

The combination of competition and bulk buying drives prices down – often way down. The Economist writes about it:

The first team buyers found each other by accident as they chatted online about buying everything from electronics to cars and even apartments—and realised they could get a better price if they went shopping together. Getting a discount is also a sort of insurance policy against ending up with badly made or fake goods from Chinese shops. Some shoppers just show up at a store unannounced to see if they can bargain their way to a discount, says Chen Shu, a 32-year old from Shanghai: “Sometimes we call the shop, but often we just surprise them. Shopkeepers argue, but in the end they want the business.”

Please let me know if you have tried it. I will add your story to the post.