OfferUp is an app that is really exploding onto the consumer resale marketplace. The app combines popular features of Craigslist and eBay to primarily benefit the user. Founders Nick Huzar and Arean Van Veelen came up with the idea were trying to get rid of extra items in their around their houses. They didn’t want to buy and sell things on eBay, and especially didn’t want to put up with the borderline-sketchy CraigsList headline descriptions, so they imagined a local marketplace that is primarily image and user interaction based.
The app experience is modeled very similar to Instagram, where users scroll through various listings consisting of a picture-based feed. Once a user clicks on a photo listing, a detailed description appears on their screen to inform the prospective buyer the condition, item specifics, and more pertinent information.
They key difference between OfferUp and Craigslist is the addition of a user profile for each seller. These profiles include identity verification features which are displayed to potential buyers. The “trust” aspect on OfferUp is key, as this is a feature that CraigsList lacks, with frequent stories of users being scammed on the site. Another feature that CraigsList lacks that is present in OfferUp is in-app communication. There is no need to give out a personal number – all messages are exchanged within a platform built within the app. This instant messaging system is another feature that further protects the user. Once an item sells, the seller can update the listing to add a “sold” sticker to alert buyers that the item is no longer available. After the transaction, buyers and sellers then both leave feedback on one another, which will help inform future transactions.
OfferUp has included key features that its main competitor has been lacking for years. The insight that founders Huzar and Van Veelen displayed shows that using the “mash-up” concept for developing a business product/service is a viable option in the marketplace. They looked to eBay and CraigsList and used each platform’s best and worst features to their ability. In the end, their entrepreneurial insights and skills have paid off, as the company has said that users spend 25 minutes on the app each day, on average. This statistic rivals early usage statistics of eBay users when they were first launching. Plus, the company’s fundraising efforts have been bolstered, as they have received approximately $90 million in investments from venture capitalists as of 2015.
Interesting business concept. I’m not familiar with Instagram, so OfferUp and Craigslist may be more different than I imagine, but I certainly would have thought that this niche was filled. Apparently I’m not thinking entrepreneurially enough, since this app appears to be fairly successful. Perhaps these somewhat older markets bear more scrutiny… After all, when something expands, gaps appear, as anybody who’s ever written something on a balloon knows.
One of the greatest features I have seen with Offerup is their use of identification technology. When you take a photo of an item, similar to Amazon’s capabilities… it will identify what the basic item is and begin creating the listing for you, streamlining the process by helping you skip over some of the listing details.