If you are looking for a free and effective way to get rid of used merchandise, this is the perfect platform to reach out to interested buyers/sellers beyond your circle of friends.
Third-year engineering student Saurav Tanaji Dhawalshankh from Pune did not have the heart to throw away his Motorola W380 device, a four-year-old handset. “I had the accessories of the phone intact, even the box in which the phone was packed and importantly the device worked just fine. Since I had moved to a 3G handset, I thought of getting some money out of it by selling the phone,” he says.
When none of his friends showed interest in an old model, he posted a free ad on TradusAds.in, an online classifieds ad site, and within hours got a call from a prospective buyer in Pune. Dhawalshankh sold his device for Rs 1,850 and believes: “Online classifieds are free and an effective way to reach interested buyers or sellers.”
Pawan Budhraj agrees. He is a computer dealer who gets nearly 60 per cent of his business through online classifieds sites. “I import refurbished and second-hand PCs from the US and sell them in India. In the beginning, I used to sell about four units a week but after I started using online classified sites – Quikr, Sulekha, and so on – responses from buyers has multiplied manifold,” claims Budhraj, who manages 30 different online classifieds for his PC products. Online classifieds have also helped Budhraj’s Riverstone Solutions to offer cheaper PC products to buyers directly as there’s no middleman to eat into his margins.
Pranay Chulet, CEO, Quikr.com believes: “The very reason online classifieds are doing well in the digital media is because it allows you to transact beyond your circle of friends.” Chulet says there are two sets of people, in different age brackets and income segments, who are looking for PG accommodation to local services or buy used electronics.
And these sites are not just buying-selling platforms, says users like Gurgaon-based Shruti Malhotra, who donated her old clothes and household upholstery to an NGO through online classifieds. “I wanted to give away a few items from my wardrobe and felt I should give these to someone who would use them,” Malhotra says. After a good look at several classified sites, she zeroed on TradusAds.in and gave her clothes to a New Delhi-based NGO. So impressed was Malhotra with the site, that she is now scouting for online ads on used (second-hand) laptop deals.
Haryana-based handicraft dealer Raghav Saini saw TV advertisements of OLX.in, another online classified site and thought of checking it out. Saini liked what he saw. “While I did not log on to the site to buy or sell anything, I ended up selling my five-year old Sony music player and buying a second-hand car repair tool kit on the site.” Saini is also planning to use the classifieds’ site to sell his handicrafts to wholesale buyers and exporters.
But couldn’t users like Saini search for buyers and sellers on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter? Saurabh Pandey, vice-president, TradusAds.in says: “There is no doubt that social platforms like Twitter and Facebook do play a key role in distributing, sharing the listings. However, users need a dedicated platform on which they can find sell or buy items (used) or services in and around their locality. An online classifieds portal has huge volumes of sellers and buyers in the smallest of areas, hence closing the loop for both.” Pandey’s company has been tapping the user base of Tier-II cities and has seen farm animals, trucks and tractors being listed for sale on the site.
The total online classifieds market, including jobs, matrimonial and real estate, among others, is pegged at Rs 1,000-1,200 crore, said market insiders. The offline classifieds market, on the other hand, is estimated to be about Rs 1,500 crore. However, the hyperlocal, consumer-to-consumer and horizontal classifieds market size would be less than Rs 50 crore says Pandey.
Striving to make their site stand out, Amarjit Singh Batra, country manager, OLX.in, has ensured that users get to list their ads for free. “OLX plans to be available free of cost for all times to come while some other sites have started charging for jobs, real estate and other categories in certain cities.,”
For now, making users aware about online classified sites remains the top priority. Quikr.com’s Chulet claims: “Search engines are a good source of traffic for us — when people go to Google and other search engines and search for things like jobs, flats, electronics etc, and the search engine points them to us. We have the largest share of this search engine traffic in India by a wide margin.”
The site has also launched apps for multiple devices including Nokia, Android and the mass market phones that operate on Java. “We also have a mobile site that can be accessed by simply going to www.quikr.com from mobile phone. The mobile medium is a super critical part of our strategy and we are using it to provide a better experience to our current users as well as bringing new users into our fold.”
OLX has readied a mobile version (http://m.olx.in) accessible from any handset (like iPhone, iPad , Android smartphones, Nokia models). “We allow users to promote their listings automatically on social networks, a rich WYSIWYG editor allows users to create colourful postings and even use photos & videos. In India, OLX is available in five languages — English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi,” lists Batra. The site has seen over 120 million unique visitors in a month.
With teledensity inching towards 75 per cent in India, classifieds are also taking the telecom route. Ahmedabad-based Kuch Bhi Bikega (KBB) is one such tele-classifieds platform where users can call and access information.
Bhikhuji, who works as an office boy in a leading mobile operator company in Mumbai, heard about KBB on radio. “My son who is studying in an engineering college in Jamnagar was looking for a PG accommodation and I asked him to use KBB to see if he could get a cheaper PG option because we did not want to pay the broker.” While his son managed to get his PG accommodation using the free tele-classifieds, he also used the platform to locate private tutorial classes last month.
By connecting the buyer and the seller and allowing them to transact in their own way – in person, on the phone, on email – online classified sites are confident about getting their share of the 100 million internet users in India.