February 4, 2014, 2:38 PM

A seller of security cameras beckons online buyers to ‘Name your price’

EZWatch, which manufactures products priced from under $100 to several thousand dollars, is picking up new sales by letting buyers suggest their own price, CEO Ben Cornett says. A big plus, he adds, is that he wins over new customers without additional marketing expense.

Lead Photo

Ben Cornett

EZWatch, a manufacturer of security cameras and systems to companies, schools, public institutions and homeowners, generated several hundred thousand dollars in new sales last year with a customer engagement tool that lets online buyers name their own price, CEO Ben Cornett says.

The Internet-hosted tool, from PriceWaiter, displays a “Name Your Price” button on product pages to let shoppers submit a price they’d like to pay for the featured product. In many cases, Cornett says, buyers submit a ridiculously low price that EZWatch might ignore—at times the offer is less than half the list price—but the company is often able to counter with a price that satisfies the buyer.

“PriceWaiter gives us an opportunity to get a second bite of the apple,” instead of losing shoppers who might balk at products that can run into thousands of dollars, Cornett says. He notes that EZWatch generated several hundred thousand in incremental sales last year, and that it compares favorably with other sales-generating efforts through Internet search and e-mail marketing.

PriceWaiter enables its clients to set business rules to either automatically accept or reject price offers at certain levels, but put an offer an hold for manual review if a customer submits a price less than, say, 20% of the list price.

For now, PriceWaiter is charging no fees to use its system, chief operating officer and co-founder Andrew Scarbrough says. Launched in 2011, PriceWaiter initially charged sellers a commission ranging from 3% to 5% on sales completed through its system, but decided to drop the commission as a way to encourage sellers to negotiate more on prices.

In place of commissions, PriceWaiter plans to introduce premium services and charge fees for them. Scarbrough says the services, which have yet to be finalized, are likely to include targeted marketing services that will let clients build marketing campaigns aimed at certain shoppers based on what they had viewed on PriceWaiter client sites and the prices they were willing to pay.

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