Invenshare Lets Dealers Sell Excess Inventory to Each Other
New site brings the sharing economy to CE Pros.
The Internet has enabled the rise of a new sharing economy in which individuals can buy or rent just about anything from anybody, from rooms and cars to crafts and clothing. Now that economy is coming to systems integrators through Invenshare.com, a new site designed to help installers looking to swap excess products.
Invenshare was created by Josh Willits, a Harrisburg, Pa.-based residential system installer, and its goal is to help installers find homes for — and revenue from the products that are inevitably leftover at the end of jobs so that dealers don’t have to add them to a backlog of unwanted inventory where they waste space and money.
“Ultimately [systems integrators are all] small [and] medium-size businesses, they’re all dealing with similar struggles,” Willits says. “This is a real-world need, a real service that these guys can use to free up cash for their business.”
The private online marketplace will allow users to list excess inventory while those in search of products can search the site’s catalogue by manufacturer or model number. Once they find a product, installers can make an offer, purchase it at the listed price or propose a trade. Dealers’ identities are not revealed until the transaction is completed. A feature that may be incorporated down the road would allow users not to sell to competitors in a given mileage radius, but Willits says he will wait to get user feedback before adding that functionality to the site.
Invenshare membership is $30 a month — a year’s membership earns a one-month discount — and the only other fees are shipping costs paid by product buyers; there are no per-transaction costs fees. It’s a revenue model that could benefit Willits handsomely if the concept catches on, but for now, at least, is more about benefitting the industry.
“It’s not the next Google or Facebook by any means,” Willits says. “It’s probably not even a million-dollar business, but I knew the need was there.”
The idea originated for Willits two years ago while he was at a Savant training, having dinner with five other dealers. One of the installers he was eating with complained that he had bought a touch panel to use as a demo piece for a client but after a two-month installation he pulled it out and put it on a shelf where the $5,000 product collected dust and earned low-ball eBay bids. That’s when one of the other installers at that dinner offered to buy the product off him and a light bulb flicked on in Willits’ head.
“We knew the need was out there, we knew we were scratching an itch,” Willits says.
Invenshare has ten registrants and close to 100 items listed, with roughly 100 more waiting to be entered into the system — amps, processors, remote controls, microphones, receivers — and many of the items are still in their original wrapping, having never been installed.
The site is predominantly geared toward residential installers but Willits says he has already heard from interested commercial integrators and that the site will ultimately serve both markets. During Invenshare’s current soft launch new members can sign up for a free 60-day trial membership.
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