By Meredith MacLeod

Original Source: The Hamilton Spectator October 12th, 2012

A new Hamilton spinoff has taken only a couple of months to capture the attention of Canada Post.

Trend Trunk, which facilitates the buying and selling of clothing, shoes and accessories, is a finalist in two categories of the Canada Post E-commerce Innovation Awards. The company is nominated for best new small online retailer and best new e-business.

The public is also asked to vote online for a Consumers Champion.

The target market for Trend Trunk, says founder Sean Snyder, is "fashion forward females" who want to cash in their closet of stuff they don't love so they can buy stuff they do. The website, launched about 10 weeks ago, is a spinoff of Snyder's gift card swapping site Swapopolis.

The buyer posts the item and the asking price, which includes a shipping cost calculated by Trend Trunk. Potential buyers can "lust" after items (similar to likes on Facebook or pins on Pinterest) or follow posters. Lusters who aren't ready to buy those jeans or that handbag will get emails about its popularity or if the price is dropped.

Buyers can filter searches to only new clothing, like new, "preloved" and handmade.

Current posted items include a purple prom or wedding dress for $258, an Italian lambskin jacket for $55 and Nike runners for $50.

Once a deal is made and Trend Trunk gets payment (taking 20 per cent of the sale price), the company sends out a preaddressed shipping label for the package. The package can be tracked and payment is only released to the seller once the buyer has delivery. That way, neither side can claim to have been ripped off.

The seller can be paid with credits to shop other closets through Trend Trunk, with cash directly to a bank account or they can opt to donate the money to charity.

Snyder, a Hamilton native, says his system takes the "creep" factor out of online sales and doesn't require buyers to haggle or bid. With Kijiji and other online classifieds, buyers often have to go to a seller's home to see the product. Then there is awkwardness over bargaining or when the buyer doesn't want the product.

The seller has to contend with no-shows and low-ballers.

Snyder says his site can include social media feeds so that users can see how well connected a buyer or seller is or whether they know people in common. That can build confidence in the anonymous transaction, says Snyder.

According to Canada Post, online shopping is the country's fastest-growing retail sector. An estimated $8 billion worth of physical goods is ordered online in Canada each year and delivered to residences. That's expected to almost double to $15 billion by 2016.

Other finalists for the awards include giants such as Future Shop, Mountain Equipment Co-op and Indigo. Trend Trunk is competing against BookMob from Ottawa, CharmJunction from Langley B.C., ShirtPunch from Whitby, Ont. and CardSwap from Toronto.

"Large or small, well-established or barely out of their basements, these finalists are leaders in giving Canadian consumers what they want and providing impressive customer experience," said Deepak Chopra, CEO of Canada Post.

Prizes total about $1 million in shipping and direct marketing services and marketing exposure on Canada Post's website, buildings and trucks. The winners will be chosen by a panel of judges and announced at a gala in Toronto Oct. 16.

Trend Trunk is also a finalist in Innovation Factory's Startoff entrepreneurial competition. The public can vote on their favourites until Oct. 31.




Read the full article here

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