Swapit adds 60,000 Member-Strong Buy & Sell Community from Facebook

swapit-blog_hkWe are proud to announce that the largest Hong Kong-based English-speaking buy & sell group on Facebook “Swap It HK” has officially joined forces with Swapit. This now extends Swapit’s reach of customer base by 60,000 instantly. The Facebook has been re-branded to “Swapit HK” now.

The Facebook Inspiration

From the onset, Facebook groups have been our inspiration for Swapit. The idea behind Swapit came about when we ourselves realized that trading through Facebook groups is actually not that easy. Yet, many people keep doing it for various reasons.

We’ve been talking to a lot of those users. Many of which are users of our Swapit mobile app, but we’ve also been talking to many people on Facebook who use Facebook groups for trading. Most of them like Facebook groups, because all of their friends and friends of friends are on Facebook. So they keep using Facebook groups despite all the many downfalls and disadvantages they have (poor discovery, bad communication, no location, etc) – just go to one of my pitches and I can talk for hours on that topic.

The Facebook Integration

swapit-blog-interestsWe recognize Facebook as a great social media, which most people in the world would not want to miss. We know people love to hang out on Facebook A LOT every day and we know they will continue to interact with their friends and family on Facebook. Recently, people are more and more communicating with brands and shops on Facebook too.

provide more value

It was a natural step for Swapit to embrace such already established behavior of our users and provide more value to them. Very early on, we started integrating Swapit with Facebook, which makes it very easy to share any item you post on Swapit, with your friends on Facebook, and also to share that into certain Buy & Sell Facebook groups.

The Swapit HK Facebook Group Stats

There is some impressive amount of trading happening in that one Facebook group. Here are today’s key stats about it:swapit_marketing-chart-grow

  • Total Members: 62,362
  • Sale Posts: 72,234
  • #1 Category: fashion

Stats as of December 9th, 2016.

The Facebook group is by far not growing as fast our Swapit marketplace in terms of members or how we call them “registered traders”. However, their smaller user base seems to be quite active and both sides will benefit from a deeper integration.

The Swapit Opportunity

We’re working hard at Swapit to make our mobile marketplace better for everyone. Among many others, this includes Facebook users as well, of course. We are actively engaging with that community on Facebook and are collecting a lot of feedback. Based on that, we’ve already implemented many changes to our Swapit mobile apps to ensure a smooth transition of such Facebook group members to mobile app users.

We are absolutely dedicated to creating the best mobile marketplace, which offers the best tools, best user experience and best social media integration. We are working hard on convincing each every of those group members that our Swapit mobile marketplace is an extended version of their Facebook group with a lot more benefits for buyers and sellers. So we continue to extend our integration and work together for a better future for all of us.

So stay tuned and make sure you’ve got Swapit installed on your Android phone/tablet or iPhone. By the way, we will upload new Swapit app releases today. So more features and better integration is coming your way!

Have you tried the Swapit app yet? Get it for free from: http://get.swapit.la/now

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Swapit beta 9 – Launched – Facebook Groups, 18 New Categories, 中文

swapit-blog_beta-9After our last Swapit beta 8, we silently launched a beta 8.1 right after that. Then we had planned to launch beta 8.2 shortly after that as well, but the changes got so big, so significant, that it became our official Swapit beta 9.

Swapit beta 9 can now be downloaded from Google Play.

Just go to http://get.swapit.la and get it now!

So what’s new in our beta 9? Let me get right to that.

18 New Categories

With this beta, we are introducing 18 new categories and are slightly re-organizing our existing ones. We are also introducing the concept of premium categories on top of our normal categories. In total, we are now offering 22 different categories, you can post your stuff in, or you can filter by, when searching for items.

On the right you can see how the beefed up filter panel looks like in Swapit now. To give you a textual overview, these are all the categories Swapit now supports:
swapit_screenshots_1.0.0.37-8_categories-filters

  • Consumer Electronics (formerly “Gadgets”)
  • Fashion
  • Baby & Maternity (formerly just “Baby”)
  • Furniture
  • NEW Books & Magazines
  • NEW Toys & Games
  • NEW Home, Garden & Tools
  • NEW Jewellery & Watches
  • NEW Beauty & Health
  • NEW Sports & Outdoors
  • NEW Food & Drinks
  • NEW Home Appliances
  • NEW Computers, Tablets & Accessories
  • NEW Mobile Phones & Accessories
  • NEW Cameras & Photo
  • NEW Artwork & Antiques
  • NEW Tickets & Vouchers
  • NEW Pets & Supplies
  • NEW Properties PREMIUM
  • NEW Yachts & Boats PREMIUM
  • NEW Cars & Motorcycles PREMIUM
  • NEW Debentures & Memberships PREMIUM

While it sounds rather simple to add new categories, we actually had to deal with many forward thinking approaches. The future is bright, it comes with many opportunities and Swapit is ready for change — big change!

Chinese 中文 Language Support 啦!

swapit_screenshots_1.0.0.37-9_chinese_smudged

Swapit 現有繁體中文版!立即下載試試吧!

Since beta 1 of Swapit it was possible to post items with Chinese title and description. Swapit was built from the ground-up with multi-language support. This does not just include Chinese, by the way.

Now, we have finally gotten around to translate the app itself into Chinese. We have seen a lot interest from the local Chinese community and now it is time to cater to all of you as well. We are sure you will love it.

This does, by the way, also apply to the app presentation (description, screen shots, etc.) on the Google Play store. Head over there now and check it out: http://get.swapit.la

Facebook Group Sharing – Reach 20k Potential Buyers Instantly

In our last beta we introduced easy sharing of items to your Facebook timeline. Now, we added capabilities to share your items into Facebook groups. At the moment, we are working with three groups that have over 20,000 members locally here in Hong Kong, which expands the reach of potential buyers dramatically. We will be adding more groups soon to increase the potential reach even more.

There were also several minor improvements to the user interface, layouts and performance, as well as bug fixes, which made its way into this beta 9. More improvements are still to come. Stay tuned and do reach out to us, should you have suggestions. We’d love to hear from you!

Want to check out Swapit? Go to http://get.swapit.la and download it for free.

The idea behind swapit

Swapit is a mobile app that allows to easily buy and sell stuff nearby. Swapit’s core trading platform could be described as a cross-bred service of Craigslist, eBay, Google Maps, and the traditional concept of flea markets. Swapit initially launches in Hong Kong for individual consumers.

profile-screenshot_pk_cropped_smudgedMy name is Patrick Kosiol, I am the co-founder and CEO of S4BB Limited – a mobile app company – which created the swapit app and trading platform. I had been living in China (Kunming, Yunnan) for some years and moved to Hong Kong 2008. Besides S4BB Limited, I am also co-founder of Sky Drone – building civilian drone technology, co-founder of Slate Takes Limited – a boutique video production house, and Director at Skylab Mobilesystems Limited – a location-based services company.

The idea of creating the swapit app came to me when using local buy & sell Facebook groups swap-it-hk and baby-swap-it. That’s also where the name of the swapit app comes from. As I recently became a dad, friends had pointed me to those groups for great deals – especially for baby articles. I bought several items through those Facebook groups like an almost new baby cot, a cute playmat and some other items. Often those items were almost new, but cost half the price or even less of a new one. Besides saving money, reusing such pre-loved items saves the environment and helps the sellers to recover at least some money that they spent for those items before.

While it was great to be able get such items, I noticed several disadvantages those Facebook groups come with – just by the fact that they are Facebook groups. Having over a decade of experience in creating mobile apps, I immediately knew the whole process of buying and selling items on a consumer-to-consumer level can be done better, more streamlined and provide a superior user experience — if it’s done right. Our team believes swapit can provide exactly that, in terms of:

swapit-blog-immediacy1. IMMEDIACY
One of the great features Facebook provides through its groups are notifications. Whenever, a group member posts anything in a Facebook group, all members receive a notification. Unfortunately, that notification is often delayed by several minutes and with hundreds of items being published for sale on such groups every day, it is hard to keep track of new ones and act quickly enough. Because the sale works on the first-come-first-served principle: if you snooze you loose. So immediacy is very important.

Similarly to the Facebook groups, swapit had to provide notifications as well, but in a more immediate manner utilizing PUSH notifications to instantaneously alert users of new items and updates. That allows us to maintain the first-come-first-served principle for fast buying and selling of items with a much more immediate approach.

swapit-blog-location2. LOCATION-REFERENCE
When an item is posted in a Facebook group, information about the location of that item is usually mentioned in the description of the post along with a note of whether it’s a pickup-only, meet-up or send-by-post item. Just because swapit is an app that runs on a mobile phone or tablet, it is always aware of its own location and therefore, aware of the location of the seller. Most likely, that is also the location of the item that’s being sold.

As a seller it is great to let potential buyers know where you’re located. So in the best case scenario, you can sell an item to your neighbor. While that’s rather unlikely, a location reference on each sale allows buyers to gauge whether that’s a convenient location for them to pick up the item or there is a place nearby to meet and complete the sale. This prevents a lot of unnecessary communication that would be required if the buyer would not know where the item that’s being sold, is located at.

Furthermore, the pure fact that each and every item that is posted for sale has a location-reference allows features like sorting items by distance from my location, showing the item or a list of items on a map, getting navigated to a particular item by public transport, car or by foot; and there are a lot more use case we believe the item location can come in handy.

swapit-blog-interests3. SOCIAL INTERACTION
Another great thing about such Facebook group posts are their public comments. They allow some sort of public communication while providing information to the general public (i.e. other potential buyers). It is also important to note that the more comments an article has, the more often it is shown on top and therefore, the more likely is being sold quickly.

Swapit also provides a comment system in the same way. Combined with our more immediate PUSH notifications the expected time-to-sale should be less than the one through such Facebook groups.

swapit-blog-communication4. COMMUNICATION
If the seller posts an item for sale on one of the Facebook groups and someone who is not his or her ‘friend’ wants to buy it, that person can send the seller a private message to arrange the sale. That’s how it’s usually done. However, because they are not friends that message ends up in the “Other Messages” folder in the recipient’s Facebook messaging center. No notification is delivered to some mobile devices and the communication to actually arrange the sale does not happen as fast as it could.

Swapit will allow direct person-to-person messaging utlizing industry-standard PUSH notifications so a message is never missed to complete a sale.

swapit-blog-ease2use5. EASE OF USE
Selling items with a mobile phone or tablet can be done a lot easier than with a desktop computer – if it’s done right.

Swapit allows to easily take a photo (think built-in camera, photo gallery, etc), enter a title, description and price and publish the item. It can take less than 30 seconds the item you want to sell is listed online and potential buyers nearby are being notified instantaneously. Combined with the location-reference and immediate communication facilities, that sale can be closed quickly.

Why are these Facebook groups that inspired our swapit app so successful?

I believe their advantages lie in the fact that they are an easy to join group – even though the groups are private and members have to be approved by other members first. The size of such Facebook groups (swap-it-hk: 27,000+ members, baby-swap-it: 6,500+ members) has surpassed a critical mass with enough potential buyers and sellers to create a vivid marketplace.

Swapit is being created in collaboration with the founders of those Facebook groups to bring the success of those groups to the mobile world. More about our collaboration efforts will be covered in an upcoming post. We all share the common goal of a more sharing and more environmentally friendly society that tries to avoid unnecessary waste and the reuse of pre-loved items. At the same time swapit helps to recover some costs of items that were purchased before and are still perfectly good to use.

A private invite-only beta test will start soon. Head over to our website to request an invitation: swapit.la