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Steve Chiotakis: Every year, New York University’s Stern School of Business gives out $175,000. It’s prize money that goes to particularly good business plans. This year, the winners are creators of a website that aims to sell high fashion at low prices. Marketplace’s Jeremy Hobson reports they’re catching on to a fast-growing trend.
Jeremy Hobson: Melanie Moore and Susanne Greenfield are just 25 years old. They met while they were interns on the capital markets desk at Merrill Lynch. Now they’re launching a handbag and accessory auction site called ToVieFor, expected to be up and running in June. Here’s co-founder Melanie Moore:
Melanie Moore: We got the idea for ToVieFor by combining the best concepts of two very different, but highly successful e-commerce businesses.
Those businesses being Gilt Groupe and Swoopo. Gilt offers designer clothes at a discount through sales that are only open for a short time. Swoopo is a fee-based auction site. As Moore’s co-founder Susanne Greenfield explains, the way forward in online shopping is all about the fun.
Susanne Greenfield: People talk about how exciting it is and they move their lunch meetings just to make sure they can log onto the sale, so with our business model, we’re kind of playing on that aspect that women love. It’s about the chase, it’s about the game.
Greenfield says ToVieFor won’t require a membership as Gilt does, but it will charge users a small fee to participate in auctions. Call it eBay 2.0, says retail analyst Patty Edwards with Storehouse partners:
Patty Edwards: When you’re looking at retail, there are three things. It’s having the right item at the right price with the right shopping experience.
And Edwards says as more and more retail shoppers go online for their purchases, the experience part of the equation is becoming more important.
In New York, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.
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