Show Me the Money
I’m not completely altruistic. I’ve got ideas that I believe will make someone a pot of money. And frankly, I’m keeping these to
myself (except for the eBay idea below, which is just too cool not to see implemented). If someone reading this website believes that I might have a clue as to moneymaking ideas AND has the ear of a
decision maker… put us in touch (I’ll be sure that you get a commission).
For Wal-Mart: 3 ideas – A new market to pursue; A way to diffuse all the bad press about putting Mom and Pop stores out of business; and a small idea for retiring Boomers.
For K-Mart: An idea to possibly allow you to compete against Wal-Mart more effectively.
For American Media (publisher of a ton of fitness magazines) – A new kind of weight training equipment. [Why American Media and not a manufacturer of equipment? Advertising, my boy, advertising.]
Jon Gives Birth to an eBay Idea
(This one is No Charge. Are you hearing me Pierre?)
It has always seemed to me that something was missing from eBay, namely, that there be a way to shop locally. This idea addresses
that AND provides a way to save shipping charges for prospective Buyers AND creates a profitable venue for individuals and businesses to provide Seller support AND (best of all) gets product viewed
The idea is for eBay to license “shipping portals”. A Shipping Portal is a place where someone can go to pick up their merchandise locally. Obviously it would need to be close to where they live, but less obviously, it would be an opportunity for brick-and-mortar businesses to get people through their doors, as well as provide a small income.
The scenario should work something like this:
- The Buyer notes that the Seller uses Shipping Portals as well as normal shipping.
- The Buyer checks the locations used by the Seller and sees that one or more of the locations is convenient for local pick up.
- If the Buyer wins the auction, he contacts the Seller to indicate which Portal he wishes to use and asks what date is available for pick up.
- The Seller responds, a date is agreed upon, and a pick-up form is sent to the Buyer to use for authentification purposes.
- The Buyer drops off the merchandise at the Portal, provides a companion form (not a duplicate of the pick-up form), and pays a dollar for services rendered. (note: depending on the location, rates may vary, time deadlines may vary, hours may vary, BUT the Portal must retain both copies of the forms for 30 days as part of their being licensed by eBay.)
- The Buyer comes in on the agreed upon date, tenders the pick-up form, and picks up the merchandise. Transaction completed.
I hate to belabor the obvious but it makes me feel better to get it out of my system.
• Many businesses will become eBay promoters. (As if eBay wasn’t promoted enough already.) I can see the signs displayed in the windows… “eBay Portal”.
I can see aisles being reconfigured to display merchandise to persons passing by on their way to the pick-up area. I can see competitive “packages” being offered to Sellers for rates, pick-up times, and hold-overs. Indeed, a wise business owner will seek to cultivate relationships with volume Sellers.
• Having established some Portals, eBay can then offer search parameters for auctions being held within so many miles of a zip code (like eBay Motors does). It can return results based on a specific item OR (and this is a really big “or”) just return results of ALL items being offered within a specified area that also offers local Portal Pick-Up. Casual local shopping!! What a concept!! (Hence the claim of product being viewed twice: once, as part of a specific search; twice, during a casual shopping search.)
• There are tons of people who still don’t sell on eBay because they don’t want to be bothered with the shipping (and packing and special trips to UPS). The use of Shipping Portals addresses these individuals. There are tons of Sellers who would increase their offerings if they knew that the constraints of size and weight could be mitigated by offering the additional items through local Portals. There are tons of eBay Stores who would ratchet-up their inventory to include items for local consumption. Umm… doesn’t this make more money for eBay if any or all of these happen?
• There is also the possibility that an “Added Value” Portal might contract with a Seller to collect the money (cash or credit card) as well as transfer the product. This would answer the dilemma of those who don’t wish to go through the bother of setting up a credit card merchant account, or a PayPal account, or waiting for a check to clear the bank.
There’s a lot to be said for local sourcing, Buyer and Seller convenience and satisfaction being the chief of these. No time lags for shipping. No worries about damages in transit. No insurance fees. No lost checks in the mail. No special trips to UPS or the USPS because no one was at home to sign for the item. By the way, eBay might want to ratchet-up it’s promotions for PayPal merchant accounts to potential Portals.
• Lockers in Shopping malls with programmable pass codes for drop off and pick-up of merchandise. (Do shopping malls want extra people in the corridors?) Restaurants can list a dinner-for-2 in daily or weekly auctions. Service businesses can do the same. (“What am I bid for an oil change?”) Who knows if any of this will come to pass? But I can tell you that lots of local businesses will be thinking about it.
So, what would happen if Walgreen’s decided to have all of their 3000 pharmacies become Shipping Portals? Or, how many businesses have receptionists (or Will Call clerks) who could also expedite pick-ups as part of their duties? Or, how often would people check “local listings” for miscellaneous merchandise? (May I remind you that to have people shopping without an agenda is Nirvana for a merchandiser.) Or, how many eBay Stores might become real brick-and-mortar stores if they could shepherd Buyers through their doors? Hmm… looks like an entrepreneurial opportunity to me.