CoShopper turns to us before the US

CoShopper, a business-to-consumer (B2C) group-buying Web portal launched this week, with offers of up to 30 per cent discount off typical offline purchase prices to lure customers.

The Scandinavia-based company, which already runs CoShopper sites in nine countries, waits for consumers to pool together via the Internet, then negotiates with suppliers for bulk-purchase discounts on products those consumers elect to purchase en masse. The size of the discount depends on the number of purchasers, CoShopper officials said.

The launch of CoShopper follows the recent arrival of a spate of B2B online trading communities in Australia, such as Cyberlynx, and CorProcure.

Joint managing director for Asia Pacific, Chris Lane said he did not anticipate any market crossover or competition from those companies.

"They give a lot of validation to our model," he said. "CoShopper gives consumers the same purchasing power as (CorProcure members) BHP and Telstra."

Company officials said CoShopper had not yet attempted to tackle the US B2C group buying market because competition there, from consumer-oriented trading portals such as Mercata and MobShop, was already fierce. There is no B2C group buying portal currently operating in Australia, they said.

CoShopper only offers products from suppliers that are willing to negotiate on price. The officials said the company's original Scandinavian portal would not make profits until next year. They would not estimate how soon the Australian operation would draw profits.

Listing plans for the company's local operation are trailing around two years behind overseas listing plans, officials said.

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