A New Era Of Online Shopping

A New Era Of Online Shopping Is Here: The slick, smart and pocket-friendly way to getting brands you want

This winter Harvey Nichols launched an advertising campaign which professed to slash prices off top brands, so much so that their TV adverts warned that shoppers would end up spending on themselves, forgetting to buy their gifts for loved ones. So, onward the cavalry marched to Harvey Nick’s. And as I stood in-store before my would-be purchases, with a little bit of awkward mental arithmetic, I realised that 30% off of these hiked up prices was still not going to send me hobbling home beneath the weight of all the hundreds of purchases I’d just made. The honest truth is: I needed real discounts and real slashes off of retail prices if I was going to buy all the things I really wanted to. The majority of consumers need this too, and we don’t want to compromise on quality, or condition, or inwardly question if the origins of that eBay purchase we’ve just made was off the back of a truck.OMB-3_w OMB-2_w OMB-1_w

And then I found it – an online website which offered exactly that. I stumbled across OhMyBidness.com, an online shopping site which delivers products to shoppers at the price that they believe is a ‘fair price.’ Every buyer’s paradise? Well, quite frankly, yes. This revolutionary new site allows you to buy products from top brands for exactly the price you want to pay – and not a penny more. All you need to do is sign up, purchase a few credits, locate the product you wish to purchase, and place a bid via the blind auction. I couldn’t believe it as I saw a Kindle auction close at €30 and a Go Pro Hero Camera close at €18.

What’s more is there really is no catch – no hidden fees or charges, no small print, even postage once you’ve won your item is free. And it’s not just gismos and gadgets. The site adds new products from top brands every day, such as designer ties and bags, and even a £150 voucher to your favourite restaurant, which you could easily win for as little as tenth it’s value. All signed up and raring to go, I decided to reach out to the founders of OhMyBidness to learn more about this revolutionary new wave of online shopping, a term they’ve coined as “democratic shopping.”

 

How does OhMyBidness work?

It’s simple: we bring you top of the range items as flash auctions which last 3-5 days. The auctions are ‘blind’ which means you don’t know what other users have bid, so prices will never be driven up unfairly  by a frenzy of bidders. Of course, if you really want to ensure you’re placed at an advantage, we’ve provided nifty little tools to get you ahead such as “Reveal the Highest Bid” an option you can purchase for just a few credits, to ensure you stay ahead of the auction. Sign-up is fast, free and easy: you purchase as few or as many credits as you like, securely  through PayPal, search for items under the extensive categories such as fashion, electronics, travel or even vouchers, place your bid, and get ready to win incredible bargains, with no extra catch. Even if you don’t win one auction – they are often repeated, so you can still grab your item the following week!

 

What inspired you to create OhMyBidness for consumers?

The inspiration came from the frustration of knowing that high street goods were sold for so much more than their cost-price. Although we appreciate businesses have fixed costs to cover I have always been bothered by the fact that consumers had to pay for these “extra costs.” Even though buyers are free to decide whether to pay these prices or not, it always seemed to me that the ultimatum was to cope with the cost, or go home empty handed.  That’s what I wanted to change. If a pair of Bose headphones cost £90, but I can only afford £80, or even £40, what alternatives did that leave me? I’d either have to sacrifice on quality, brand, or even buy them second-hand, or cough up the extra cost. This led me to coming up with a more “democratic” way of assigning prices to highly consumer purchased products.

 

And how was the idea then born?

Through extensive market research – we realised how much of a gap in the market there was for something like OhMyBidness. Although “penny auctions”  try to provide a similar service – there are just too many catches. They are very different from us; once you win a penny auction, aside from the money you’ve already spent ‘bidding’,  you still have pay for the object you’ve won, which leads right back to the original issue: driven up, hidden, and imposed costs.  I wanted to create a system that could really reflect the “willing price” people wanted to pay for an item. And that’s what you get at OMB. Once you win an item for as little as you had nominated- that’s all you will be asked to pay for it. Even the delivery is on us!

 

Has there been a real demand for something like this?

I strongly believe so! The exponential growth we’ve seen is proving just that. Having started this company by myself, now just over a month after launching, the team has grown to 7 people, earnings are up 65% and client signups are soaring daily. The reality is that people are constantly looking for discounts. Imagine being able to purchase a Kindle Fire HD for £15.50 – who wouldn’t want to? One of our customers Stephanie has just won it for exactly that, after a 4 day auction. Impressive, right? Consider another bidder who recently won a Go Pro Hero 3 camera for £8.60 – we’re talking about an official retail price of £190. That’s the power that OhMyBidness provides and our aim really is to award top-end, and high quality widely-consumed products at a fraction of their retail price. In addition, we are looking at forming philanthropic partnerships with some NGOs, such as the World Food Organization; the aim is to give back to the community a portion of what we earn.

 

Was there strong competition?

I wouldn’t say we have a direct competitor out there. I would definitely discount cheap and tricky penny auction websites, where on top of the bids you’ve already paid for, you still have to pay an additional and rather substantial price for the item on sale. Also, on OMB the auction duration is fixed and everybody knows when it will end (transparency is our motto!) while on penny auction websites the time keeps changing and you effectively can’t be sure the auction will ever even end!

 

Who do you think are the main threats to the business?

I figure as soon as the rumour spreads, we will see a series of similar websites coming to the market trying to replicate OMB’s concept. The major threat I see, and that’s  kept me awake from the beginning of this adventure is the “too-good-to-be-true” feeling that people get coming to our website. I hope the more incredible deals, bargains and products they win the more they will resist that instinctive, but destructive thought process so they can really benefit from the consumer-friendly, fair, and altruistic benefits that OhMyBidness is here to provide, to shoppers world-wide.

With that, I was sold. Peeling myself away from the already open site on my laptop, and turning my attention back to the interview, I could sympathise with the “too good to be true” skepticism he fears most visitors will feel. Except, here I was, online, watching these auctions; top brands, brand new products, fair, transparent and blind auctions, wrapping up at 10, 15, or 20% of their retail prices. So I wanted to waste no time in getting on board – and I would strongly recommend all sensible shoppers to have a go too; with nothing to lose and only the most pocket-friendly shopping-savvy to win. Hands off the Furla Bag currently for sale though – that one’s mine!

Joanna Malek



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