UsedEverywhere 3.0 to be social, mobile – AIM Group
UsedEverywhere 3.0 to be social, mobile
By Sharon Hill
Canadian-based Black Press is poised to compete with Kijiji and other classified verticals in Canada, with the results of its one-year campaign to build its Used.ca into a social marketplace. Luticia (Tish) Hill, UsedEverywhere general manager, and upcoming International Classified Media Association (ICMA) social media presenter, talked with us at length about the mission of the locally-focused classified site.
“About a year ago we were facing a crisis, with our user base eroding in Canada, and a serious main competitor, Kijiji,” she told us. “We were underresourced and had to do something. So we took a breath and a hard look out and in. It occurred to us maybe it was time for the next version of this industry to happen.”
Hill described Craigslist as “enormously disruptive,” after which many players entered and fragmented the classified space. EBay Classifieds, Schibsted,Naspers, all were UsedEverywhere competitors as she saw it. She noticed they all had a social media presence.
“We felt the only way we could compete was to innovate rather than iterate – and experiment,” she said. With that realization UsedEverywhere 3.0 began. And, unlike so many traditional media publishers, the platform’s staff was made up primarily of young folks with technical backgrounds that included Microsoft and communication companies. Few legacy publishers here!
“These folks were pretty adept with the whole social phenomenon,” she said. “We were pretty free to do that, too. Black Press let us go off on our own. As long as we were making money they let us do what we wanted.”
What they wanted – and what they’re in the midst of rolling out – is a big Used.ca commitment to mobile, with what Hill described as “new world-class apps.” The site is meshing well-established social networks with ecommerce, what she called “bringing a gun to a knife fight.”
“We can’t iterate EBay and Schibsted and Naspers – they’re too big and their momentum too strong. We have to be different,” she said.
The UsedEverywhere mission is to be more user-focused and less item-focused, creating a more personalized experience for the consumer. If they knew what users want, the team surmised, they could deliver more relevant content, products and services. User profiles and Facebook Connect are the two primary tools for accomplishing this.
The concept is to take whatever users are willing to share in their profiles and their site registration to deliver free items based on their preferences. The models for the site’s curation efforts include Groupon, AirBnB, LinkedIN andOne Kings Lane. Communication among friends is the next step in the 3.0 evolution. Social gaming is being considered as well.
“We’re basically an online marketplace that is fulfilling an offline transaction,” Hill told us. “The closest site to us is AirBnB.” (For more on AirBnB, see our Real Estate Connect SFO coverage in CIR 12.15, July 12.)
We’re working as fast as we can with the resources that we have. We just rolled out the ability to share links, and post items from the site on our Facebook wall. Many other social changes will be live before the end of the year.”
For the latest social efforts – the ability to posts listings to Facebook – see graphic below, and / or “Like” UsedEverywhere on Facebook.
From the latest UsedEverywhere announcement, here are the details of its recent mobile initiative:
Used.ca currently offers two ways to browse through andinquire about ads on mobile devices: the iPhone “Used Viewer” App and the iPad “Used iPad Viewer” App. There is also a quick posting app for the iPhone: “Used Post” App.
The iPhone “Used Viewer” App allows users to view ads on their local UsedEverywhere classifieds site directly from their iPhones. The Ad Viewer App allows browsing of online classifieds quickly and efficiently without having to do a lot of zooming and scrolling because all of the key information is presented in a clear concise format on the iPhone screen.
The “Used iPad Viewer” App allows users to quickly scroll through their favourite ads with the swipe of a hand directly from the iPad or iPad 2 (see App screenshot images below). In its launch week the Used iPad Viewer App was downloaded hundreds of times and it quickly gained popularity with the number of daily downloads quadrupling by the end of the week. These download trends are continuing as more people shift their browsing from computers, to smartphones and tablets.
The iPhone “Used Post” App allows users to quickly post ads to the site directly from their phones. Ads include up to four photos that are posted directly from the iPhone. Posting from the app saves time because users no longer have to download pictures to their computers.
More mobile applications for devices such as Blackberries and Androids are in in the planning stages in response to Used.ca user feedback – via the toll free help line, online help, and social media channels such as theFacebook page and Twitter feed.
The Used.ca family of sites, established in 2003, is Canada’s biggest Canadian owned online classified network. There are local city sites in the UsedEverywhere network across the country including UsedOttawa.com, UsedWinnipeg, UsedRegina, UsedVictoria and more (you can find a complete local site listing here).