I was thinking today about many servers offering the volume based discounts to the groups of their users. They basically mediate the discounts to the general public and have their profit margin on it. And there are also servers telling the best price for the product based on the data feed provided by eshops. Both groups are holding the huge amount of the aggregated data and there are users wishing to get many products as a gift.
My idea is simple. Every user (Consumer) should be able to create his wishlist and add products to it. He should be able to do it by just clicking a button on the product page in any eshop. Or by photographing the bar code (EAN), QR code or any other possible code in the mall with their smart phone, iPad 2 or any other smart enough camera equipped device. There can also be some other methods enabling the Consumer to do it in a very simple way.
Consumers should be able to publish their wishlists on Facebook and some other sites providing the API enabling the developers to do it. Or he can always put the link to the original wishlist server using his alias or ID.
The wishlists will then be visible to a group of users (your friends in the first place) and the wishlist server will provide the feedback to the eshop owner. The simplies way to do so is just providing an anonymous trackback link or the data feed. It’s only the question of the eshop owner’s invention to use the data for making his shop better.
And other users (Buyers) must be able to place the order for the product and pay for it using the wishlist server, because that will be the place knowing the delivery address of the Consumer. Basically in two clicks using their credit card, PayPal or any other simple enough payment tool. The worst case scenario is the proforma invoice which is sent to the Buyer and he pays it using a standard bank transfer.
Once ordered by the Buyer, the wish is marked as fulfilled in the Consumer’s wishlist for some period of time, let’s say five days. And it will disappear from the wishlist completely once paid. Or it can be moved to the fulfilled wishes list afterwards. However the Consumer wants it.
The important thing is that the payment goes to the wishlist server provider and he is also responsible to fulfill the order and deliver the product (or service) to the Consumer. Many additional services can be added like putting Buyer’s personal note into the package and so on.
The wishlist server provider must of course be granted to collect the money by the participating eshops. And these eshops will pay the wishlist server provider some low profit margin for collecting the orders for them. Let’s say 0,5% in case he gets paid for all fulfilled wishes once a month and 1% if he gets paid for every single fulfilled wish within 3 days. Fixed fees can also be used, like 1€ for every product (service) ordered through the wishlist server.
It basically means the wishlist server provider will hold the money and the eshop can be sure it will get them after the wish is fulfilled. And if it’s not, than the next shop will be offered to fulfill the wish. If there’s no shop able to fulfill the wish the money will be returned to the Buyer.
The API must be created to enable the wishlist server placing orders to the third parties. It’s really simple and I already described it here a couple of years ago. Any other existing API can be also used, I don’t stick with Tech Data’s Data Exchange model, although I’m it’s creator. The wishlist server sends the product/service ID to order and the delivery address to be delivered to. The eshop confirmation with the order tracking number goes in the response.
The eshop must provide the datafeed containing all the products/services, their prices, short description (which will be printed on the invoice to the Buyer), standard delivery times and their identificators. Nothing else.
It’s obvious that providing the Consumer’s personal data to the eshop violates the privacy protection laws in almost any country. But it’s also obvious that he should be told to confirm the wishlist server can do it once he adds a wish. And privacy protection will not be harmed.
Keeping it simple
The concept should be simple enough for both the Consumers and the Buyers. This means the only thing needed for the registration of the Consumer should be his email address, Facebook ID or Open ID. Once he adds a wish, he also must provide a delivery address.
It can also be handled without the Consumers delivery address until the wish is paid by the Buyer and receive an e-mail (or Facebook message) that his wish is ready to deliver after he put’s the delivery address into the system.
But this can affect the eshop’s stock and also slightly complicates the API, because the eshop will put the product on hold carrying the order tracking number on it and it will deliver the product right after it’s told the delivery address by the wishlist server.
There’s one thing which is not normally published by the eshops. And that’s the product successor when the original product is obsoleted. I guess the Consumer should be able to check if he wants the successor product instead of his original wish after it get’s obsoleted. That’s very common with the digital cameras and basically all the consumer electronics.
Book and movie parts
One thing is really cool with the books, movies and similar products which can be sold in continous parts. Imagine that you buy your Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. You like it, you wish to read the rest of the saga and you also want to give your friends the opportunity to make it a gift for you.
So you go the the first eshop and add Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to your wishlist. When added, the wishlist server offers you to add the rest of the saga (even those parts which are not printed or written yet) to your wishlist. When the next parts get available, they are added to the wishlist and the original Buyer is notified you did so. Isn’t it cool? Yeah, sure it is.
Imagine you desperately need a new bike. So you go to the eshop and put the bike on your wishlist. That’s where it may end. But the wishlist server knows there are accessories to your bike. Just because the information is provided in the feed by the eshop. And it enables you to add some accessories of your preference too.
When the Buyer comes to your wishlist, he can buy you a bike and he can decide if he also buys the accessories for you or pick only some of them and leave the rest on your wishlist for another Buyer.
The whole thing can also be done if you add the accessories separetely. Just because the wishlist server knows they match to your bike.
Service wishes configuration
Image this: You garden has 1000 square meters and you normally don’t have time to mow the lawn. So you go to the first eshop providing the lawn mowing service and you click on it. But to be wishable, you have to tell the providers how big is your garden and how often it should be mowed.
Then your son comes to your wishlist and buys a mowing of your garden for one month, for a quarter of the year or the full year. After this period of time passes, it will re-appear on your wishlist again. Isn’t it perfect? Sure it is!
Keeping your wishlist up-to-date
You always should keep your wishlist up-to-date. It will remind you to do so, if you tell the wishlist server provider after your birthday or once per quarter, like you wish. Simple enough, I guess.
There’s of course the space for the charity. Imagine that your successful company wants to fulfill the wishes of a thousand poor (or state bred) children. So you give you employees the opportunity to go through these special wishlists. You put the limit on the budget per employee and you’re done.
We should always keep in mind that we don’t know what is the best gift for the children. They know it much better.
There are many concerns from this concept, but I can’t imagine anything what could not be solved. What I can imagine is the good part of it. You’ll never have to think about the christmass gifts (which is a real nightmare for the normal people), you’ll never get the same thing twice or multiple times for your birthday, you’ll probably never get the sock or a deer decorated pullover again. You’ll get precisely what you want. The world can be perfect enough!
Your comments are welcome.