Back in May we released an article on 2 key marketplace behavioral insights and how they’ve shaped features for version 2.0, which outlined why we removed the price from version 2.0.
This is the second part of that article, explaining the second key insight that led to a new feature on our marketplace... Paperclip Groups, the ability to make and join micro-marketplaces based on your interests and location. Think Facebook Buy/Sell Groups but done right.
The introduction of Paperclip Groups means that our marketplace users now have the ability to create (or join) a private (or public) marketplace based on their interests or location, adding a layer of confidence for buying and selling as part of a trusted community.
Examples of Paperclip Groups in action:
FRIENDS AND FAMILY: Create or join your own private marketplace for family and friends! It takes just seconds to add vintage clothes, gadgets, fashion accessories, 2nd hand electronics, and used books. Once they’re online you can sell and swap them amongst your nearest and dearest.
NEIGHBOURHOOD: Get your neighbours, street, or apartment building involved and trade all of your preloved bikes, TVs and furniture with trusted people locally within your community.
SCHOOLS AND MOTHERS: Kids grow up so fast these days, and so why not make or join a group to trade their outgrown clothes, 2nd hand accessories, unwanted toys and prams with other parents nearby?
STUDENTS & UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES: What better way to make some friends at university than selling and swapping your used games console and games, fashion, second hand furniture and even that ‘vintage’ car you got for your 18th birthday?
What data pointed towards this decision?
INITIAL DISCUSSIONS - UNIVERSITY FOCUS GROUPS
Imagine you’ve just gone to university and moved into your halls of residence. You’ve somehow forgotten a few things. Now how much easier would life be knowing you were able to join a buy/sell group where you can find what you need all within the radius of let’s say, 1 mile. Let’s face it there are a lot of people who over pack and probably have a few things lying around.
In fact our core differentiator was pitched by our Swansea University interns, who wanted a way to trade with people of similar interests. This insight proved crucial and had a positive initial reaction during closed trials.
FURTHER RESEARCH - IS THIS A PROBLEM WORTH SOLVING?
We found that 38% of people wouldn’t use a marketplace to buy and sell because they do not trust the people on it. However, of those 38% surveyed, 8 out of 10 indicated that they would use a marketplace if they shared a common interest with the other users. This is why groups is brilliant, because you can join or create a group for other like-minded people, whether they are other students at your university, neighbours on your street, or people who love the same hobby as you.
OK IT'S A PROBLEM. IS ANYONE SOLVING IT?
So, we found from students that they want buy/sell groups. We did some research and found that other marketplace users want groups as well. So now it was time to find out if there was anyone actually solving this problem - what were people using for buy/sell groups?
In short, it was/is Facebook. There are over 200 million buy/sell groups on Facebook, and combined they have more than 200 million transactions performed on them each month. That's a hell of a lot of use for a 'shoe-horned' solution - Facebook Groups are not designed well for this purpose. In fact, we tried using them for a bit and quickly found that they lack some key marketplace features; there are no categories, searching is difficult, there is no transaction of verification process, and the list goes on.
Not only that, but when surveyed, just 9% of people felt comfortable sharing their used buying and selling habits on the social networking tool - they didn't want friends and family from around the world to see that they're selling. They were worried about status and privacy.
SO, HOW ARE YOU SOLVING THIS PROBLEM?
To recap, we've identified 2 key problems;
- people want to use buy and sell groups for secondhand items
- the only way to do this currently is Facebook, and people don't want to share their buying and selling habits on Facebook
The answer (ie. our solution) is simple; Paperclip Groups.
Response to Paperclip Groups
Given the data and our research, we had always expected groups to be something of a game changer - and we're pleased to see that the response has been positive. We've seen more and more groups created each day, and an increase of returning users. Our most popular group categories are Cars & Motors, Mother & Baby, Smartphones & Women’s Fashion.
An integral part of Paperclip Groups is the 'item request' feature, which allows group members to post requests for specific items for all to see. Thanks to this feature, you can be instantly alerted when an item that you're looking for is added to the group, meaning you'll be exclusively informed and are first in line to contact the seller. The barrier in finding a particular item has now been removed, which brings a new aspect to Paperclip Groups’ that speeds up the process for both buyers and sellers.
Personally, I've seen the 'Car Buy/Sell/Swap' group to be one of my favorites, with hundreds of people and cars being added over the past few months. You can access the group here.
At the other end of the spectrum is an interesting 'K Pop' group for Korean music and related items - it's awesome to see people getting use out of Paperclip Groups!
We'll continue to listen to our users and monitor the data before launching new features. The next big thing is just weeks away now, the release of our very own web platform! As of October you'll be able to buy, sell and swap with people via your desktop browser!
Let us know of any features you'd like added, or your feedback on Paperclip Groups at firstname.lastname@example.org