How to Build a Classifieds Marketplace App Like LetGo

How to Build a Classifieds Marketplace App Like LetGo

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Digital classifieds industry established its roots in 1990’s with the entrance of players like eBay and Craigslist. Successors to these two businesses in the 21st century are OLX, LetGo, Quicker, Cashify and Zamroo. One dominant name out of these is LetGo, which is available as a mobile app for both Android and iOS smartphones and enables smooth selling and purchasing of second hand items. Barely people know that LetGo is formed by the former CEO of OLX, Alec Oxenford.

Oxenford launched the LetGo app for the US population specifically in 2015 and later occupied the competitor, Wallapop in 2016. Within the short span of two years, Oxenford was able to attract 10 million users on a monthly basis. In 2020, LetGo’s estimated yearly revenue was $38.4 million.

Recognizing the business potential in the digital classifieds industry, several entrepreneurs are interested in launching their own classifieds app. However, to replicate the success of LetGo and establish their name, entrepreneurs will need to develop a mobile app with all the capabilities to tackle everyday challenges and provide a satisfying customer experience.

To help such entrepreneurs, this blog contains deep insights for building a classifieds marketplace like LetGo.

Table of Contents

Reasons Behind the Success of LetGo

There is a confluence of factors leading to the growth and success of LetGo. The major and most discernible amongst them is the leadership of Alec Oxenford, who had already established and managed the classified company OLX. Not only Oxenford had the entrepreneurial experience to make a startup like LetGo a huge success, but also the team and connections for strategic growth.

Other reasons that lead to the popularity of LetGo are:

1. Strong Marketing Strategy

For business promotion, LetGo depended on a 360-degree marketing strategy, which was inclusive of humorous TV commercials, YouTube ads, social media marketing and automobile partnerships. The agenda of the commercials always remained to explain the benefits of the app, its swiftness in selling products and building trust to attract sellers on the platform.

LetGo TV commercial

2. Exposure and Reach

Another reason behind the success of LetGo was the wide reach that it offered to the sellers registered on the app. As per LetGo, the company crossed the benchmark of 100 million downloads within the first three years of its inception. In 2019, LetGo also reported the availability of 25 million cars on the app with the addition of 1.1 million new car listings every month. Such terrific figures highlight the immense reach and exposure LetGo provides to both buyers and sellers.

3. Diverse Range of Products

LetGo is a marketplace to sell all sorts of products. Its categories range from real estate and automobiles to home electronics, garden supplies, clothing and baby items. Having a long list of items and in vast categories made LetGo one of the top alternatives for OLX, eBay and Craigslist, which meant buyers quickly moved to LetGo when they were unable to find a second-hand product on existing classified giants.

4. Security

Ensuring the safety and security of users is essential to build a customer base on a classifieds platform. The general population, under all genuine scenarios, will only sign up on those classified platforms that sound trustworthy and reliable. From the beginning, LetGo focused on the security of users and also provided a chat messenger for on-platform conversations. Lastly, it also updated consumers on maintaining safety while selling or buying second-hand products on its official marketing collaterals.

LetGo - Build a Classifieds Marketplace AppSource: LetGo

How Does LetGo Work?

There are three key user-types on the LetGo app, which are:

  • The Admin
  • Sellers
  • Buyers

All these user types adhere to the following workflow to enable smooth classified operations on the app:

  • Buyers upload their products on the platform
  • The admin verifies the listing
  • Approved listings are displayed to buyers
  • Buyers search for a product and contacts the seller
  • The seller sells the product

Workflow - Build a Classifieds Marketplace App

Important:

  • In the workflow, the admin also reserves the right to reject a listing or send it back for moderation. Once moderated, the seller can upload the same listing again
  • The buyer can negotiate the price with the seller in chat messenger and come to a mutually agreed price
  • The delivery or pickup of the product is also organized by the buyer/seller

How Does LetGo Make Money?

Neither LetGo charges its sellers for any registration fee nor deducts a commission for any sale or purchase that takes place through the app. Thus, the question arises how does the app make money? 

The revenue generation model of LetGo is quite different from other eCommerce platforms. Below, we have mentioned its known revenue generation strategies:

1. Display Advertising

LetGo uses display advertising on its app to earn money. It allows various sellers and vendors to set up promotional banners or other marketing collateral all over the app. The more the visitors click on these ads, the higher the revenue generation for LetGo. LetGo even sponsors advertisements in specific geographic regions, which adds value to its display advertising methods. 

2. Freemium Subscription

LetGo also uses a freemium model to earn money. Under its freemium subscription, sellers can upload listings for free but also get access to a paid feature known as ‘Bump Up’. When used, the Bump Up option shows the seller’s listings on the top position in the search results for 7 consecutive days. 

The pricing for the Bump Up option varies from product to product and ranges between $0.99-3.99.

LetGo also has two paid subscription options for sellers. These are:

LetGo Pro Plan: This plan is specifically made for commercial car dealers who want to sell second-hand cars through the app. The plan focuses on helping dealers in lead generation with advanced features like feed integration and buyer callback. Car listings under the LetGo Pro Plan are also made public immediately. The plan also comes with a 30-days free trial after which car dealers need to select one of the following payment options:

  • $99 for 30 listings
  • $399 for 70 listings
  • $599 for 150 listings

Super Boost Mode: The super boost mode subscription of LetGo is made for every seller who registers on the platform. Under this subscription, LetGo promises to feature atleast one product of the seller every day. For this purpose, LetGo collects the data of all products on the marketplace and analyzes them for their chance of sale. Thus, the items with the highest probability to be sold are automatically put in the feature list and displayed to buyers.

The aforementioned revenue streams may not be unique to LetGo but they are quite different from commission based marketplace stores that levy a commission to the vendor on every transaction. This also implies different functionality for the software application to facilitate online classifieds business operations.

Advanced Digital Classifieds Solution with Multiple Revenue Streams

Top Problems Faced by an Online Classified Business

Later in this blog, we have discussed the features to develop an app like LetGo. However, it is essential to shed light on some key problems faced by classified apps to understand the necessity of most important features.

Moreover, the following problems will also help you prepare solutions in advance so that you can aim to establish a strong presence in the industry right from the beginning:

Problem #1: Online Frauds

Cybercrime is responsible for frauds of billions of dollars every year. eCommerce fraud is a part of cybercrime and easy to carry out on classified websites. In majority fraud cases, sellers upload a fake product and ask for online payment before the delivery. To lure customers in this fraud, the price of fraud products is usually kept unbelievably low. These frauds not only steal money from buyers but also tarnish the image of classified platforms.

Solution:

Business owners can incorporate the following features to improve security against fraudulent advertisements:

  • Seller Verification: A feature to verify age and proof of address of a seller right on the platform. Several ID documents issued by the government and related statutory bodies can be used for this purpose. 
  • Ownership Document Verification: The app can also ask the seller to upload some proof of purchase of the product, for example, a billing document. However, considering that consumers always may not have the bill for the products they purchased years ago, this feature is not as viable as seller verification. 

Problem #2: Outdated Product Availability Status

Another big challenge faced by classified apps is delay in ad status updates. In some cases, sellers even upload a product on the app and don’t change its status even after it is sold. Due to this reason, a product that is no longer available at the seller is still displayed to buyers and leads to poor customer experience. 

Solution

The following features will assist you in negating the damage done by outdated ad status:

  • Push-Notifications: A feature to inform buyers of sales of their interested products. This can be used for other purposes as well, for example, sending advertisements, promotions and price drop information. 
  • Display period: By enabling this feature, the app owner can select for how long the app will display an advertisement. After the end of this period, the ad will be automatically removed from search listings and hidden from new buyers. However, the seller can activate the ad again by logging into his/her profile. 

Problem #3: Finding Sellers and Buyers

Classified apps often deal with the ‘chicken and the egg’ problem. To attract buyers, apps need a lot of advertisements on the marketplace and for that, they need sellers. However, to invite someone to sell his/her product on the app, the owner also needs to ensure the availability of buyers on the platform. 

Solution:

The following marketing and branding features are what business owners need to find sellers and buyers for their classifieds app:

  • SEO: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) features, such as meta tags optimization, Slug optimization, RSS feed and alt tags assist in improving the search engine visibility of your app. With the help of SEO, Google can display your product to any buyer who is looking to buy some second hand products. Similarly, it can be also used to attract sellers looking to sell their products on an online marketplace. 
  • Social Media Sharing: Social media giants receive billions of users every day. With the help of social media sharing options, you can enable those users to do marketing for their second hand product listings themselves. Thus, directing traffic from social media sites to your classifieds app. This is possible by placing social media sharing buttons (of at least most popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) on every product.
  • Seller Subscription: Similar to LetGo, you can create your own subscription package for sellers and give them varying benefits such as a boost mode for their listings and the callback feature. Your subscription can include various features that are not available on your competitor’s platform or even the same ones but at a much lower price. 
  • Email Marketing: With email marketing, you can send proposals to various sellers. MailChimp API even provides business owners with advanced email generation features such as a drag and drop builder and content studio. Business emails can be also used to inform sellers of any upcoming offers and subscription packages. 
  • Advanced Analytics: APIs such as Google Analytics, Tableau and Power BI can help you evaluate the performance of various landing pages on the app. They can also assist in multivariate testing and find out the ads that generate maximum value for your app. Even if analytical data does not bring you any immediate explicit benefit, it will help formulate business strategies for the future and stay agile.

Other Important Features Required to Develop a Classified App Like LetGo

Below is the list of some other features that should be present on your classified app to ensure smooth business operations:

App Features

Approaches to Develop a Classifieds Mobile App

Professional mobile app development adheres to a strict format of strategic process management, task allocation, client-side communication, SRS (Software Requirement Specification) generation and more. In the modern world, there are two popular development methodologies that are followed on a large scale. These are waterfall and agile development methodology.

Waterfall Development Methodology

The waterfall development methodology was first introduced by Winston Royce as a concept in 1970. It follows a linear approach towards software development, which originates with requirement gathering and goes through design, development and testing before deployment. The waterfall methodology is suitable for developing small-size apps that will not require any updates or changes in the long run. 

Agile Development Methodology

A big problem with the waterfall methodology was that it chiefly focused on the software development trends of the 1970s, when the competition in the digital niche was low and the majority of consumers did not have access to the internet. As a result, there were significantly lower requirements for advanced features. However, in the modern world, trends and consumer behavior change frequently and the competition is also high, requiring entrepreneurs to stay agile all the time.

This gave emergence to the agile methodology that allows for iterations in the software. Unlike developing the whole software at once like in waterfall methodology (which sometimes even took years), agile methodology progresses development in weekly iteration. The first iteration, also known as sprint in programming terminology, only includes the bare minimum features to shape the software. Later, the developed base is introduced to a broad scope of audiences, i.e., early adopters who then provide their feedback to further improve the software in the next sprint.

A huge benefit of agile methodology is the flexibility to add and remove features anytime, which allows businesses to stay market-ready at all times and keep the competitive-edge, no matter how much time it takes to complete the entire development. 

Which Methodology to Select for your Classifieds App?

Despite agile being a comparatively newer methodology, it is important to note that waterfall methodology is still widely in practice. Both these methodologies have their own set of benefits. 

The following table can give you a little idea of which methodology will be better suited for your classified app.

Agile Development Methodology Waterfall Development Methodology
 
  • For mid-to-large scale enterprise app development
  • When the feature list is not defined or need consumer feedback
  • When you need a faster software release
  • When there is need for a complex software development
  • Important for highly-fragmented industries with too much competition, e.g., eCommerce
  • For industries where the consumer trends change too quickly
  • For startup experimentation purposes

 

 
  • For small scale app development
  • When the feature list is completely pre-defined
  • When the software release is not urgent
  • When the software development requirements are simple
  • Useful for low-competition industries such as solar energy and pet products
  • For industries where the consumer trends remain the change for a long time
  • For launching pre-planned startup businesses

 

Wrap Up

It’s clear that Alec Oxenford, the former CEO of OLX had the experience and knowledge to start an app like LetGo and turn it into a household name. With proper guidance and target audience, entrepreneurs can replicate the same. For developing a robust application like LetGo, industrial experts can guide you on the required feature-set, deployment and iterations. They can also provide you with timely support and help you offer uninterrupted service to your customer base. For a quick start, it is recommended to discuss your project requirements with your preferred experts and get a quote for the same. Later, you can do a comparative analysis to decide which custom mobile app development company will be the best for your classified app development requirements.

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