“EBay has abandoned their community,” says Yardsale’s Ryan Mickle. The giant online market place used to be about their community, with items delivered alongside handwritten notes. But they’ve grown beyond that, forgoing personality for a more mass-market identity. As for Craigslist – that other marketplace site – they haven’t improved the user experience since launching. That’s the void Yardsale’s team aims to fill, while eBay focuses on their Amazonian future, and Craigslist festers. The market place app has been in action in the San Francisco area since launching as part of Y Combinator in summer 2011, and today they go national.
Yardsale says they sought to “re-imagine and rebuild” the buying and selling process, with its sights set on mobile. The interface is smooth and quick to use, and they mention that many of their users compare the experience to their first time using Dropbox. Yardsale believes they are what eBay or Craigslist would have been – or could have been – if they were built today.
Their main focus was spent on the listings process to make it as easy and straightforward to post items as possible. From there the posts can be autofed to Craigslist, and dropped into their search stream. Half the items sold on the app are purchased within 20 minutes of being posted, and 79 percen of their customers come back to interact with the app.
They’ve already allowed content to be posted across the nation, so it’s already seeded and ready to go. They’re also releasing a suite of new features across the entire application, including saved searches and an improved posting process.
The main question they had to tackle is what would be posted and how to organize that. One of the most interesting finds they mention is the similarity in content posted by neighborhood, which should play well into a search that’s both keyword and geolocation-based – making shopping by district, instead of by category, an easy way to find what you’re looking for. From there, just send the seller an offer on their item, and the seller receives a notification of your interest in their wares. It’ll be interesting to see how a slick mobile version of a market place site can supplant the current offerings that have failed to stay technically relevant.