Instant Remote Auction
Original Publication Date: 2001-Feb-28
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2001-Feb-28
Instant Remote Auction
By Juliana Dutra
With this invention, the consumer uses his wireless phone while at the supermarket at a particular supermarket shelf to signal his intention to buy a particular product. The manufacturers of that product then bid for the consumer's business, offering discounts to the potential buyer (consumer). The consumer picks up product that has the bid he likes more, and takes it to the cash register, which should have the latest price, including the bid deal.
Due to distribution and logistics costs, it is very common that a product can be overstocked at the point of sale, i.e., a particular store, it being too costly to move it to another store. To manufacturers, the burden of carrying that extra inventory is two-fold: That product will eventually be returned by the retail store owner, and the retail store chain will consider that brand less "efficient" in their stores. It is very common for a retail store chain to attach a penalty for overstocking, such as a fine or cancellation of contract.
On the other hand, consumers may be inclined to buy that overstocked product, if they were given a small discount. But existing methods of offering discounts are very inefficient: Currently, consumers cut and save coupons from local newspapers or pick up promotional coupons at a paper dispenser at their local supermarket. Opportunities for targeting the right ad for the right consumer are limited and clumsy . Coupon response rates rarely reach 25% , making the product manufacturer incur expenses printing unwanted/ unused coupons that will be wasted.
With this invention, instead of newspaper coupons, the consumer will use a wireless phone. When the consumer reaches a shelf that has products he is inclined to buy, the phone connects him to the manufacturers. The manufactures then bid for the consumer's business, offering discounts as appropriate. The consumer picks up product that has the bid he likes more, and both consumer, retail store and manufacturer are satisfied: The manufacturer solved his overstock problem cheaply and without wasting resources. The consumer got a nice deal on his purchase and the retail store is making the most efficient use of its retail shelves, by having product moving quickly. Retail store chains also value being able to offer "extra" discounts to consumers, that can't be matched by the competition.
How it works
To pick a particular product, the consumer would use his phone to scan or type a bar code, or pick products from a menu. Optionally, Bluetooth technology can be added to make the phone automatically recognize which manufacturers to "call".
Using WAP the wireless phone can connect with each manufacturer's point-of-sale system and check if any discounts are available (due to overstock, promotions, etc.).
The phone would then present the...