The connectivity of the internet has made finding and purchasing products simple on a global scale. E-commerce financing since 2010 has seen over $30 billion has been invested in more than 2,000 deals. Yet some entrepreneurs still see holes to fill. Karl Lillrud developed Pricelizer for just that reason.
Pricelizer isn't a typical e-commerce startup with an idea and an eccentric founder. Karl Lillrud is a veteran entrepreneur who realized a need for global monitoring of prices and connecting consumers to products. Whether it is real estate, a sewing machine, or a necklace from Italy, the connectivity of the internet creates the ability for people to find anything. Pricelizer and its e-commerce platform monitoring gives consumers the ultimate ability to pay the best price possible for anything.
What Kind Of E-Commerce Platform Is Pricelizer?
Is Pricelizer a mobile app, a web extension, a laptop-based program? Lillrud said yes. Pricelizer is a dynamic app which is adaptable to any format. When asked why Pricelizer is all these things, Lillrud said in order to scale globally, e-commerce must meet the consumer where they are. Not the other way around. "E-commerce doesn't operate in a vacuum," Lillrud said. "Pricelizer is an all-encompassing app on multiple platforms such as Android and Apple watches, mobile devices, and web extensions."
Lillrud said he came up with Pricelizer during time away from work after the birth of his daughter. Between feedings and naps, Lillrud used a psychological technique called a Mind Map to brainstorm and develop ideas he could turn into startups. Once his wife had recovered and given her blessing for him to return, Lillrud used the grouped ideas in the Mind Map to create one startup a month for a year. Several months into the journey, Lillrud realized he connected with a real possibility in Pricelizer.
"The numbers and feedback from people made me realize my first idea [Pricelizer] was far too good to be wasting time on other ideas," Lillrud said. This led to the formation of the Lizer group which includes a B2B application called Revalizer. Lillrud said he and his team have over 38,000 development hours in the project. It has now taken on a life of its own. "We've come to the point where I don't need to believe in it any longer for it work," Lillrud said. "Of course I always believe in it, but so many other people realize the potential their efforts now support and sustain it."
Pricelizer works when users create a wish list of products. A complex algorithm then monitors prices and availability on a global scale then notifies the user when the price drops. "Our engine works with any e-commerce site available," Lillrud said. "But it's more than that. It works with any priced item online." This means users can track prices on groceries in their region, handmade shoes in Italy, or a house in Spain. "You don't even need to be able to buy it online," Lillrud continued. "As long as there is a price, we can tell you when the price changes."
Building & Scaling a Global E-Commerce Platform
Creating a platform and service like Pricelizer is a monumental task. It is akin to Runway 2 Street CEO Rathna Sharad building a global infrastructure to connect craftsmen in Italy with buyers in New York. Sharad spoke about that task at a panel at Seattle Startup Week in September. She decided to conquer the task after her she couldn't buy a necklace she wanted from a designer in Italy.
How does one build something completely innovative yet simple enough for anyone to use on a global scale? Lillrud compared it to open water swimming during the winter in Sweden. He found a way to swim in the frozen water during the winter time by doing what was possible instead of focusing on what wasn't possible. "My friend and I broke it down into tiny piece and focused on what was possible at first," Lillrud said. "After you do what is possible first, you will realize what was impossible is over half way done."
The overreaching focus of Pricelizer is to improve the standard 2% conversation rate of e-commerce sites. The alpha version of the app is active and tracks user behavior and expectations. Lillrud said this data will go to the next version of the app and refining the process to make a better user experience that is also logical. Lillrud was careful to explain Pricelizer is NOT a price comparison tool. There are too many of those out there. Instead, Pricelizer is a way to track online behavior then quickly and easily help users find what they seek for the best value.