The Chicago startup that’s bringing haggling online to give you better prices

By November 10, 2017

In light of today’s modern retail empires and the explosion of e-commerce, haggling is an art which has fallen by the wayside, occasionally making an appearance at your odd flea market over used junk. However, the benefits of haggling can be incredibly advantageous, although price negotiation is almost nonexistent with today’s modern-day purchases.

According to, 57.5% of haggles result in a better price for the shopper, and 89% of shoppers who haggle receive a discount at least once. Despite these statistics, 66% of shoppers rarely or never haggle for a better price.

Understandably, haggling can be considered a sensitive issue if employed at the wrong time or place, which might result in some shoppers being too timid to give it a go. Moreover, other factors, such as culture, can heavily influence the haggling process.

Despite this, a Chicago startup by the name of Treatail aims to bring the haggling experience into the 21st century. The startup allows users to ask for discounts and get unadvertised deals at any online store. With the Google Chrome plugin, users can ask for a deal with any online seller by submitting a request, which is naturally prompted by the shopping cart page on any retail site. Treatail then sends the request to the seller.

If the seller is not an existing user of Treatail, the startup contacts the company explaining the feature and invites them to register. Once they are established in the system, the retailer can then accept, counter or decline the proposal using the startup’s unique interface. Interestingly, sellers can view a customer’s entire shopping basket, thus allowing them to make additional offers, for or with other items, opposed to the original request on its own.

Adam Selsby

Retailers will need to accept payments via PayPal, while giving an undisclosed cut of the total sale amount, including nondiscounted items, to Treatail, but the plugin will be free for all customers. “With Treatail, we’re trying to completely change the way people shop online,” said Adam Selsby, CEO and Founder of Treatail, via BusinessWire.

He added, “When I was running my online retail business, I discovered my conversion rate was nearly 100 percent when a customer made direct contact to request a discount. The margin and inventory were there, but not enough consumers had the awareness, much less a tool to start that conversation. We want Treatail to be the conduit that connects shoppers and retailers to create better deals for consumers and increase sales for retailers.”

While technological advancements might have silenced the art of haggling, distancing buyer and seller through a PC monitor, this startup looks like it has the potential to revive this dying cultural tradition. As the internet becomes the future world market place, it only makes sense for a business to accommodate our desire to haggle, enabling sellers to convert abandoned checkout baskets into cash, while providing a sweet discount for shoppers.