Swapit Beta 12.1 Update to Boost User Engagement

swapit-blog_beta-12We just updated Swapit on Google Play with a set of very exciting features. You can get the latest update right here: http://get.swapit.la

Over the past months the Swapit marketplace has grown a lot in terms of users, items and GMV. We are constantly analyzing the way our users actually use Swapit, what their pain points are and where we need to improve. While the Swapit app is fully functional and already provides a lot of value to our users, we believe that it is far from being finished. Our roadmap in terms of product features easily keeps us busy for years.

Focus on User Engagement

With this new release, we focused a lot on user engagement. We’ve noticed that we can do a lot more to engage our buyers and sellers into Swapit and to increase the chances to sell an item faster, by a magnitude. So let me explain you in detail what features we’ve added, why we added them and what we believe the benefit will be.

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SORT BY DATE
By default, Swapit sorts all items in its list by proximity. This means, the items that are being sold near you, are listed first. The further down you scroll, the farther away such items are – in relation to your current location. That has not changed. However, we’ve added a new sorting option in the “Filters” pane (click top right filter icon), where you can now select to show all items sorted by date.

Amongst many other features, this one was requested by numerous users. Let me assure all of you that we are hearing you. All your suggestions, feedback and bug reports are noted down and make their way on our development road map (or at least are being considered to be added). I’d like to take this time to thank all of you for your great support!

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PROFILE ITEM CATEGORIZATION
In the user’s profile overview, you now see the user’s items separated by their status. At other people’s profile you now see an “Available” and a “Sold” tab, which lets you easily identify which items that person is currently selling and which ones did (s)he sell before. In your own profile you can also see an “Inactive” tab, which will show items you’ve marked as inactive before.

This feature was on our list for quite a while, but had actually a rather low priority. However, a couple of week’s ago, one of our most active traders suddenly deleted a large bunch of items, which he had sold already. That did immediately show up in our statistics tracking. So I contacted him to find out more. The reason was simple: all his still available and sold items were mixed up in that one list, the user profile had. As a very active seller, he had a hard time finding the items he had not sold yet. Therefore, he deleted all sold items to clean up that list.  As we’d like to encourage our users to keep record of their trades, this was obviously something we needed to improve on. The best way we could think of, was to separate the item list into different tabs. It is now dead simple to find the items you’re still selling.

EMAIL NOTIFICATIONS – missed item activity
We launched our first beta of Swapit in January 2015, which was very limited in terms of features. Only since our public beta launch in June 2015, Swapit was fully functional as a marketplace. Even since then, we’ve added so much value to the app, that it now operates quite differently to what it was before. It is a fact, that we had some users who downloaded Swapit in the early day, but it wasn’t quite ready for them to use yet. Hence, they eventually deleted the app.

Some people have listed items a long time ago. If they deleted Swapit and someone is interested in the item after that, there wasn’t any way to reach the seller. As you all might know, Swapit relies heavily on instant push notifications. They make Swapit feel very instant and snappy. However, such push notifications require you to have the app installed. So once you delete Swapit, you won’t receive any push notifications if someone is interested in buying your items.

sendgrid-delivery-open-statsWe’ve added Email Notifications as a fallback for such push notifications now. So if a user did previously post an item on Swapit, then deleted the app and now someone is interested in the item, wants to buy it, likes it, leaves a comment, etc. that seller will receive an email notification about such missed activity on his item. We expect this will drive quite a number of sellers back to Swapit and post more items in the long run. We also believe this will help increase our closing rates.

A quick side note: We are using Sendgrid in the backend to reliably deliver such emails into the user’s inbox. Thanks to our acceptance in the SoftLayer Catalyst program, we got an Enterprise Account for free. Thanks a lot SoftLayer for that and thanks a lot SendGrid for creating such a great service!

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COMPETING INTEREST NOTIFICATIONS
If I want an item, I usually really want it and try to get it settled ASAP! Some people are however, not so quick with their decisions. We’ve seen some folks showing interest in some items and then not taking any action on it. Now, when someone else is interested in an item, which I am interested in, I will receive something we call “competing interest notification”. I will receive that for items I:

  • liked,
  • left a comment, or
  • clicked “Chat to Buy”

This creates some sense of urgency, which is important to illustrate to me, that I need to take action now and seal the deal of the item I am seriously interested in.

SOLD REMINDERS
Sellers sometimes forget to mark an item as sold, which they have actually sold already. For such cases, Swapit now automatically reminds you of unsold items after 3 days. We chose 3 days, because we actually believe you should be able to sell an item on Swapit in a matter of hours and not days. So 3 days is a conservative guesstimation on our side. We’ll monitor the effectiveness and might adjust that time frame.

At the same time, if the user hasn’t sold the item yet, that reminder also provides quick 1-click access to “Share” the item on social media. So this should help to spread the word about the item even more and give it another quick push after some days.

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LIKE NOTIFICATIONS
Sellers now receive notifications when someone else likes the seller’s item. Similarly to social media platforms, we feel it might be interesting to know who likes my items. This feature was quick and easy to add, but it may have some tremendous upside in terms of user engagement, because it allows us to pull sellers back into the app every time someone likes his or her item.

UNDER THE HOOD IMPROVEMENTS
Furthermore, we’ve added a lot of improvements in terms of performance and features,that are under the hood and are not visible to the user’s eye. For instance, as we are working hard on our Swapit iOS app, we require several changes in terms of how our user accounts are being handled. The on-boarding process will be slightly different on iOS as opposed to Android, but we needed to make sure our user management in the backend operates as smooth as always. Besides that, of course, we’ve fixed several bugs. Piece of cake!

That’s all for our Swapit Beta 12.1. Please stay tuned for the next update! We’re working hard to get the next update to you as soon as possible.

You don’t have Swapit yet? Go to http://get.swapit.la and download it for free now.

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An Email Series for Sellers: Tips for Making a Sale

Swapit is quickly approaching one of its major milestones. To accelerate the number of items being posted for sale on the platform, we are launching a new series of emails which we call “Tips for Making a Sale”.

Swapit as a trading platform, which aims to bring buyers and sellers of pre-loved items together, is in a unique place. While it’s also possible to trade new items besides those popular pre-loved ones, it is unique to our platform, that every single trader can be a buyer and a seller. Unlike other popular platforms (e.g. Amazon) where there is a strict buyer vs. seller separation, we at Swapit embrace the fact that all of our buyers are potentially sellers too – and vice versa.

To educate and to encourage our users to sell their items or offer them for free, we have now set up a series of simple tips to make a sale quickly. Each tip will be delivered in a separate email to allow people to focus on the message at hand. Today, we exclusively release our tips here on our blog –  ahead of the actual customer email reach-out, which starts later this week. Feel free to browse all 10 tips here:

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While most of the tips are common sense, it is always great to remind people of what’s important. At the same time, this gives us a reason to reach out to our users and remind them about Swapit – bringing the app and its useful nature back into their minds, directly boosts our engagement metrics.

Keep in mind, we are running the public beta of Swapit for several months now and some of our users have started using Swapit many months ago. So it is our obligation and our pleasure to ensure everyone is on the same page.

When browsing through our tips, I am sure, you will notice some of Swapit’s features, which you weren’t aware of yet. Again, this helps us to encourage engagement with the app and drive adoption to the next level.

Tips for Making a Sale – Schedule

We have scheduled our educational series of tips for Swapit at a weekly basis. Which means, users will receive their first Tip for Making a Sale exactly 7 days after sign up. We then stick to that schedule. Subsequently, everyone will receive a new tip by email once a week. Yes, there might be some folks who will unsubscribe from our newsletter because they just don’t like such emails – and that is absolutely fine. While we believe, we provide a lot of value to our users, we also understand, that not everyone might be fond of our emails. Again, it is our obligation and our pleasure, to look after all of our users and to make sure they all understand the premise and value proposition that comes with Swapit. We are determined to help all to get the most out of Swapit.

If you’re a Swapit user, chances are high you’ll receive an email soon. Keep an eye out for our Tips for Making a Sale email.

You’re not using Swapit yet? Go to http://get.swapit.la and download it today.