French co-buying site to rival Letsbuyit.com

Letsbuyit.com, the high-profile co-buying website, now has some “private label” competition.

A French company called Dealpartners has set up shop in the UK and is offering e-tailers the chance to jump aboard the co-buying bandwagon. Its first UK clients include AltaVista, Line One and Egg.

Co-buying encourages consumers to group together when buying the same item in order to get discounts. Letsbuyit.com, which originated in Sweden but is now in more than 14 European countries, has made the most impact so far. The company recently floated on Germany’s hi-tech Neuer Markt. A similar US firm, Mobshop, has yet to make significant in-roads into the UK or Europe.

Unlike Letsbuyit, Dealpartners is happy to work behind the scenes with established e-tailers, rather than try to build its own consumer brand.

These stealth tactics appear to be working – Dealpartners claims to have the largest aggregated buying community in Europe, with 10 million customers. It has set a target of 50 million customers by the end of the year.

Dealpartners offers over 1,000 products – including consumer electrical and office equipment, items for the home and garden, and sports, leisure and fashion products – at an average of 20 per cent below leading premium brand products.

E-tailers are offered Dealpartners’ “fully flexible technology” under their own brand name. When they sign up to become part of the network, which now includes 20 group buying communities, the e-tailers can outsource areas such as transaction processing, order management, shopping cart functionality, customer support and fulfilment.

Dealpartners chief executive Arthur Lepage says the potential of aggregate buying across Europe is “enormous”.

“It is changing the traditional retailing model as we know it and providing a solid revenue model for online businesses.”

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