Auctions change the retail world

By Cecil Johnson, Knight Ridder

If you think putting out $700 for a stroller is foolish extravagance, think again, says Web entrepreneur Daniel Nissanoff in his new book “Futureshop.”

Nissanoff says buying such an expensive stroller makes perfect sense. He points out that celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna pay as much as $2,800 for Silver Cross Balmoral strollers.

But Nissanoff is not arguing that a middle-class family should pony up $700 for a stroller just to show off. Here’s what he says:

“Buying a new stroller for $700 is a good deal. A liquid secondhand stroller market means that your child is safe and happy in a stroller that you’re proud to push, and then, when the harness is too snug, you can sell it for about $550 on eBay. It will have cost you about the same as if you had bought a mediocre stroller to begin with. Even a black Silver Cross Balmoral goes for about $1,950 on eBay, saving one lucky parent hundreds of dollars.”

The stroller is only one of scores of examples the author provides to drive home the point that consumers today are increasingly shedding their “accumulation” culture mind-set and are moving toward an “auction” culture mind-set.

Consumers are buying more things with a plan to use and resell them while they still have value instead of keeping them until they can only be trashed.

For the most part, eBay and some of its Web competitors are driving that trend, Nissanoff says.

But despite the success of eBay, which in less than a dozen years has evolved from a small experimental auction to an international behemoth, it has not nearly reached its potential.

“Futureshop” reviews the history of the secondary market from medieval times to the present as a platform for projecting its future. The book is a good read from that perspective, as well as for the practical advice it offers. It would be a good investment to buy it – new or used.

How the New Auction Culture Will Revolutionize the Way We Buy, Sell, and Get the Things We REALLY Want

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