Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores lets shoppers 'Netotiate' prices

Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores (SHOS) joined forces with B2C negotiating platform Netotiate in March of 2013, giving online shoppers a tool for negotiating their own bargains and generating a reported uptick in sales for the retailer.

Netotiate is reinventing the typical sales promotions methodologies by allowing consumers to make an offer within an acceptable price range in an attempt to drive down cost.

The concept has helped retailers such as SHOS increase sales while providing a more rewarding shopping experience.

Since the platform was introduced, SHOS has shown double-digit conversion rates, and revenue per visit has increased within categories enabled by Netotiate services.

On, Netotiate has helped boost sales in the refrigeration, cooking and laundry verticals. Of the three, refrigeration has garnered the most success in usage and lift from the technology.

"We have a wide array of customer segments who engage in the Netotiate service on," said Donnie Franzen, head of e-commerce at SHOS. "At the end of the day, one constant is that the folks who are using the service are excited and happy to participate in the potential additional savings generated, creating a happy ecosystem full of brand advocates."

The tool works because of the psychology behind it, according to Franzen. Customers gravitate toward the idea of getting a deal or a markdown, which is within the parameters of Netotiate and within the retailer's margin, translating to a win for the brand.

Franzen was attracted to the cost model, management team and ease of software implementation associated with Netotiate. He also sees the model and platform changing.

"I'd fully expect a host of new and exciting bolt-on features and/or upgrades to benefit both retailers and consumers in the coming months/years," he said.

The future of retail product pricing may be in the shopppers' hands. The industry is looking to "Name Your Price" buttons and other shopping tools that put more control in the hands of the shopper, and many customers say that while they weigh price points, emotions ultimately guide shopping decisions.

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