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Thu May 27 2021 16:41:20

Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers

By: Ina Steiner

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Etsy filed a patent application for a system that allows shoppers to request custom products, but what makes it intriguing is that it enables requests that sound more like corporate RFQs (Requests for Quotation) than requests for a customized consumer good.

Imagine you're getting married and you're in the market for a something special (dress, tuxedo, invitations, rings, or favors, for example), but after shopping around, you decide you want someone to make the item(s) custom just for you and your affianced. 

Imagine if you could go to an online marketplace and submit your design for whatever it is you're looking for, and have makers respond with bids. The system would allow you to have discussions back-and-forth with sellers who respond to the bid.

That appears to be the idea behind Etsy's patent filing.

Here's an excerpt from the filing:

"In accordance with one aspect, shoppers using an Internet-based commerce site may request custom designed products rather than mass produced products from willing sellers. 

"Shoppers may provide terms under which the custom good must be manufactured. 

"Various systems and methods may also provide a platform for shoppers and sellers to negotiate terms and/or to incorporate negotiated terms into such requests."

Here's another excerpt:

"In some embodiments, a shopper may select multiple bids. For example, if a shopper desires multiple items and no single seller bids to supply the desired number, the shopper may select multiple sellers to fulfill the request. 

"In some implementations, when a shopper selects a bid, the shopper may be asked if the request should stay open so that future bids may be accepted, and/or if the shopper wants to accept additional bids. 

"In some implementations, if the shopper does not indicate that the request should stay open after accepting a bid, the request may be removed and/or flagged as fulfilled in a database table."

For shoppers, there may be several advantages. One is that you may not know which sellers have the capability to create the custom product you're shopping for; this allows you to enter the information and hope sellers respond. And it speeds the process - submit the request once, and wait for multiple sellers to respond.

You can view the filing on the USPTO.gov website. Would this interest you as a buyer or maker/seller? Can you envision any downsides?



Comments (10) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers   Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers

by: HappyOne This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 27 21:00:10 2021

Great idea. I will make up offer of requested items with a “fair” price while a China or India seller can underbid me. “Bride & groom” maybe celebrating birth of first child when order is delivered. Really good idea have custom orders become a commodity with the lowest price winning.

Perminate Link for Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers   Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Fri May 28 12:14:03 2021

@HappyOne - I haven't read the entire patent application, but to address the issue you mentioned, this plan needs to have a drop dead date by which the merchandise needs to be received, with a penalty imposed against the seller if the merchandise doesn't arrive when guaranteed. Also, the seller needs to disclose where the merchandise will be shipped from, especially now that the mail system seems to be a mess.

Perminate Link for Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers   Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sat May 29 08:54:38 2021

I for one would find this to be helpful but I would want to see samples of the bidders' work. One might receive a wedding dress that was glued together.

I was looking for someone last year to sew a simple product that I sell. This required sewing but straight stitches. I found someone offering this service online and I sent fabric samples to her to sew. Sadly I received back the finished pieces and they were not sellable. Lots of roaming stitches.

Never being someone who likes to depend on someone else I am learning to do this myself.

Perminate Link for Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers   Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sat May 29 11:20:09 2021

@Rexford - One of my mottos in life is: If you want it done right, do it yourself.

Perminate Link for Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers   Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Bob

Sun May 30 13:12:15 2021

If you want to have something custom made.  If you have any sense you go to a local professional.  

Perminate Link for Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers   Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sun May 30 16:18:45 2021

100% agree iheartjacksparrow.

Perminate Link for Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers   Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers

by: 1 Angry Artist This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 30 16:40:47 2021

Just reading the excerpts from the application and knowing how Etsy screws up everything it touches, all I can say is what could possibly go wrong?

They can't even handle normal sales transactions, now they want to oversee a complex bidding war on something like wedding dresses?   Are you kidding me?

I guess they never heard of Bridezilla.

Perminate Link for Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers   Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 31 00:33:43 2021

Imagine if you could go to an online marketplace and submit your design for whatever it is you're looking for, and have makers respond with bids. The system would allow you to have discussions back-and-forth with sellers who respond to the bid.
^^
This is Fiverr and Task Rabbit, but for Handmades.  Nothing new, except you're competing more aggressively.  Whenever I want graphic designs I go to Fiverr and place my requirements and then have several gig workers bid on the project.
this will be interesting because Etsy has thousands of crafters that do basically the same thing.  They sew, or make patterns, or make jewelry.  So imagine someone wants to get married and wants someone to design some special earrings.  They would put their request for quotes out and the jewelry makers would compete and maybe send her designs.

Perminate Link for Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers   Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers

by: cookiepuss This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 31 19:15:54 2021

Something like the old Alchemy boards gone corporate?  

Perminate Link for Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers   Requesting Bids for Custom Goods from Multiple Sellers

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jun 6 12:05:10 2021

This brings to mind a throwback TV commercial for a specialized transmission repair company. Attempting to support the argument for choosing a pro specialist, they show a prospective client shopping with an ‘unspecialized’ mechanic first, who’s ‘reassuring’ response is, “sure, we do trans-miss-eons.”

A.I. wouldn’t even crack a grin though. No sense of marketplace nuance respecting quality v price. Hard enough for too many buyers to do as it is…



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