OLX is a free general online classifieds site that connects sellers to buyers in a bid to remove the complications involved in selling and buying. Founded in March 2006, the site is available in over 100 countries and over 40 languages and funded by South Africa media and e-commerce giant Naspers.
OLX is simple to use and allows sellers to sign up for their own accounts, post photos of items they want to sell, provide a brief description and a price as well as give their location or the location of their items in a simple short way. Buyers can then browse the listings, select the favourite ones and then call the seller to meet offline and transact.
OLX doesn’t handle any money or own any property or listing even though it owns the copyright of the content listed on the site. Users are supposed to take personal safety precations while meeting a seller or buyer offline and should avoid dealing with cash most of the time. They are also encouraged to meet at public and safer places to increase to avoid chances of fraud.
Kaymu has launched in Nairobi, are you guys scared?
Peter Ndiang’ui: No we are not ; first, they are more focussed on the marketplace b2c market and the 2nd reason is that the market is still big and the more we are the faster we can develop the market.
What is OLX doing to see more guys using it especially in rural areas?
That’s a good question. If you look at our awareness campaigns you’ll notice that we target a wide spectrum of users based on a number of parameters from the language to messing carriers.
People say verticals will wipe you out. Is this true?
I think if you look at the premise of a classifieds site , the most important thing is high liquidity both to the seller and the buyer. Whether it’s a vertical or a horizontal doesn’t really matter as long as users get results. Now if the vertical folks have results that indicate that their users are selling faster on their platform than on OLX then we would believe that warning but I am not sure that there is evidence to this claim.
Our Mobile app is top 10 downloaded app in Kenya and this is a key indicator of the demand that our service is attracting. On average over 50 % of sellers sell in the first 7 days of listing across all categories, this ought to be the defining parameter than the site vertical focus.
However, globally, we have seen that horizontals exist side by side with verticals in a very symbiotic way.
What about monetising. Are featured listings and digital ads enough for OLX to break even?
At the moment it’s too early for us to worry about monetization strategies and tactics in such an early stage market. We are fully focussed on developing the user base.
Some classifieds sites have sections to swap, donate and for freebies. Any plans for such on OLX?
If a feature improves the overall user experience , we wouldn’t hesitate to add it.
How has OLX build consumer trust to keep coming back?
By ensuring they get results. That’s the key motivator for returning users.