Groupon has added a new B2B service to its online discount commerce operations. According to reports, the firm has launched Groupon Goods Liquidation Auctions, a site allowing business buyers to procure excess merchandise.
The site stems from Groupon’s Switzerland-based arm, Groupon Goods Global, which sells and ships products from Europe. The new marketplace marks Groupon’s first site that allows EU-based buyers to procure products initially sold through Groupon Goods Global.
According to Groupon, all products are sold at a fraction of their original price, and are sourced from either excess or customer-returned merchandise. Business buyers provide a resale certificate guaranteeing Groupon that the purchase is for resale, not for personal consumption, Groupon said. That certificate means corporate buyers can avoid paying sales tax on the product.
Groupon also added that the site runs on an auction business model, meaning business buyers submit the highest bid they are willing to pay for an item. The platform automatically manages bidding fluctuations. Sellers pay a monthly fee to Groupon to participate on the site, and that fee changes based on sales data.
The service, reports said, was built by B-Stock Solutions, which develops similar specialty liquidation marketplaces for other major retailers including the Home Depot and Walmart. Despite the expertise, B-Stock CEO Howard Rosenberg told reporters that the new Groupon service is entering uncharted territory.
“We expect to build a base of many thousands of buyers,” he said. “I don’t know how to predict how quickly the buyers will ramp up because it’s sort of new territory for us, given that the inventory is in Europe. But, when we launch a site we typically get thousands of buyers in a matter of days.”
At launch, Groupon Goods Liquidation Auctions nabbed business buyers through B-Stock’s own network of clients, reports said. Already, Rosenberg told reporters that the service is off to an optimistic start.
“We definitely see a need in Europe,” he said. “The retailers there are just like they are in the United States. We’ve always been really interested in the European market, and we view this as a really great opportunity for us to start investing.”
B2B online auctioning isn’t an entirely novel concept. Last month, leading B2C auction site eBay revealed a new partnership with Proxibid to bring the online auction experience to B2B buyers, allowing business procurement to occur through the eBay platform.