BidSwan allows businesses to auction merchandise online

While at Northstar Café in Clintonville reading a magazine article about an e-commerce startup using a name-your-own-price model to sell event tickets, Joshua Kibbey decided one could sell practically anything using that model.

Then, while mentally working through that idea, he started talking with small business owners about Groupon and similar daily deal websites. Often, they were excited about working with the sites and though they did help bring lots of customers through the door, they didn’t really bring long-term value to the business.

“With that in mind, we decided to create BidSwan as an alternative to the daily deal site with a name-your-price twist,” says Kibbey.

Businesses can sell just about anything −from event tickets and services to gift cards and overstock− on BidSwan. They simply create a free merchant account and post items at their discretion.

BidSwan reviews each post before it goes live, but business owners control prices, amount of items sold, and how long sales last.

Site users bid on items and when they win, they get an email confirming the sale, which they then present to the appropriate business to receive them.

Kibbey says businesses pay a very low commission on products they sell on Bidswan, making it is a cost effective way to market to consumers.

Further, business users get analytical feedback about how they can alter their product mix if BidSwan thinks some changes will help them have more success.

BidSwan went live in May and about 20 local merchants are actively using the site.

“We have a constantly evolving road map to where we would like to go with BidSwan,” Kibbey says. “Long term, we want to expand BidSwan to a regional and, eventually, a national footprint. The first step is to get it right in Columbus.”

In an effort to be philanthropic, BidSwan recently teamed with Global Gallery and Community Shares of Mid Ohio to launch its 5 and 5 program.

When BidSwan users enter the codes “fair” or “community” in the credit box during checkout, they get a $5 site credit and BidSwan donates $5 to Global Gallery or COSMO, respectively.

Nonprofits interested in participating in the 5 and 5 program should contact BidSwan via email at [email protected]

To learn more about BidSwan, visit