EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 316 - August 05, 2012 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 6

Could the Quickable Smartphone App Be the Future of Online Listing?

By Julia Wilkinson

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You've probably heard it said: online selling has gotten complicated; so much so that there are now considered to be "barriers to entry" for the newbie who 10 years ago may have just slapped up his Zippo lighter listing on eBay without a second thought.

It was with that in mind, as well as the rise of the multi-featured cell phone, that Quick Technologies President Doug Brenhouse and his partner, CEO Jeremy Paradise, co-created the Quickable app, which lets people quickly list an item using their smartphone to multiple marketplaces, including eBay, Craiglist and Facebook.

Right: Search results on the Quickable mobile app.

"Our objective is to bring buyers and sellers together in whatever form makes sense for that transaction to take place," said Brenhouse. The app is free to use and is available for Android phones now, but the company has plans to launch on Apple's iPhones/iOS later this fall.

Publish to eBay, Craigslist and Facebook with the Push of a Button
Currently you can list your items for sale with the Quickable app, which is still in beta, on eBay, Craigslist, Facebook, and Quickable's own marketplace at "Quickable.com": http://www.quickable.com/. Brenhouse said in the future they are looking to add other marketplaces such as "Amazon, Etsy, Pinterest, Google Plus, Twitter,...the list is long." But for now, "we're basically going after where the users are; where integration makes most sense," he said.

Left: Publishing to multiple marketplaces screen within the Quickable app.

Shoppers can pay for transactions via PayPal or cash. Since one of the safety concerns people have with Craigslist is that you have to show up with a fistful of cash in order to buy your item, Brenhouse said the Quickable app addresses that by allowing the user to just show up with their phone, and to pay via PayPal using the app. Brenhouse said they plan to add other payment services down the road.

When you do sell something on Craigslist or another marketplace through the Quickable app, the app will cancel your eBay listing, or the listings on whichever marketplaces the item didn't sell, so that you don't run the risk of selling it twice.


Facebook and "Friends Only" Pricing
The app's Facebook functionality "is actually one of the best features we have," said Brenhouse. Users don’t go through the Facebook marketplace, but actually post the item on their own Facebook wall, he explained.

"We came up with this notion of what we call "Friends Only" pricing. When you sell something to your friends, there's sort of a stigma around charging them full price, so often friends want to give friends discounts." He added that there's significantly more functionality if you sign into the app with Facebook.

Listing on eBay with Quickable
In terms of the eBay integration, Brenhouse said when they started building a platform, "what we heard from sellers was that there was so much frustration about cost structure, and the functionality of eBay, and it doesn't seem they've really been treated as well as the buyers." So they approached it from a seller's perspective. "It can actually be very balanced - both buyer and seller should feel very comfortable when they walk away from a transaction,...and no one should feel they got a little bit screwed, or they didn't get their money on time."

Users have a choice between a basic mode or advanced mode, said Brenhouse. The casual eBay seller can greatly expedite the listing process: "Just with a few clicks it is posted to eBay, so you never have to go through the eBay site again," said Brenhouse.

However, regular sellers will most likely want to take advantage of an optional listing template which Quickable offers, which allows users to pre-input selling information such as their return policy, etc. "Advanced (mode) has things like custom eBay templates, subtitles, and a few other eBay-specific fields," he said.

Quickable takes advantage of the user's cell phone camera, integrating pictures taken from the phone, or a user can also choose from stock photos or select a photo of the same item from another listing; for example a particular brand and model of laptop computer. Users can also scan a product's bar code to bring up stock photos and item information. "You can take multiple photos within the app to show different angles of what is being sold," said Brenhouse. Although currently, "you cannot crop the photos; only delete."

Users can also take advantage of product descriptions from others listings and edit them to suit their needs. (Sellers should make sure the description is adequately tailored to that particular item's unique features or flaws).

Once your basic selling information such as product title and price are inputted (and in some cases, a UPC code or ISBN number), Quickable presents you with a screen where you can publish the listing to all the multiple marketplaces with the touch of one button for each channel.

Where the Buyers (and Sellers) Are: Taking Advantage of GPS and Other Features
The Quickable app takes advantage of not only the built-in camera smartphone feature, but functionality such as its maps, GPS/location, bar code scanner, and messaging as well. With the phone's GPS, you have an understanding of where the buyer and seller are, said Brenhouse, so you can make buying decisions for the first time based on "whether you want to have an item that's from around the corner or around the country." The fact that we have these smartphones always on, and always with us, "really make it a seller and a buyer's dream," he added.

When asked about security issues of knowing buyer and sellers' location, Brenhouse said, "We provide seller accuracy to only about 1/10 of a mile and allow sellers to post an item without a location by turning off location services all together from their smartphone. The buyer's exact location is not disclosed to the seller, it just says the town/state they are located in."

Right: a view of the app's mapping feature.

Small retailers can also take advantage of the app to drive traffic into their storefronts. He says the app can help "the retailer that is struggling so much right now to figure out how it is that they're able to pay the extra fees to staff, and keep the lights on, compared to folks who only sell online. There are ways to say "come on in and we’ll give you that product; we're in your neighborhood.""

The app has "really struck a chord with small retailers," according to Brenhouse. In less than 45 seconds they can put their products on all the major marketplaces and social media networks, and have access to the largest audience of buyers ever, he said.

Analytics Features Unique to Quickable
The Quickable app features an in-app analytics package that allows for sellers to see how many visits they've had, how much they've sold, where traffic is coming from (eBay, Craigslist) etc. "Because the app lists to multiple marketplaces and social networks simultaneously, Quickable anticipated sellers needing to know which marketplaces and social networks are bringing in the most activity," said Brenhouse, adding, "The idea is that sellers can then tailor their pricing and offerings based upon these metrics."

The Quickable app is free to download and use, although down the road the company may add some enhanced functionality based on users' feedback for which it may charge a premium. "Our objective is to not put up any roadblocks at this point to usage, and as we hear from our sellers features and functionality that they are willing to pay for, then we'll blend those over time," said Brenhouse.

From the U.S. to Global Marketplaces
For now the app is available only in the U.S., but the company plans to eventually branch out to other countries. "We want to bring instant mobile commerce everywhere - launching Quickable in global markets where mobile phones are more predominant and more easily accessible than computers," said Brenhouse. "We're going after this broad spectrum of sellers."

The app launched on July 17, and so far has garnered 61 reviews on Google Play. Most reviewers are impressed with the efficiency of the cross-platform posting functionality. "Awesome app!! Makes it so easy to post to eBay and Craigslist! And I love that Facebook friends price feature! Can't wait to see what else they come up with," wrote one reviewer.

"We feel we've taken the beneficial features of eBay and Craigslist and merged them together to create this wide local and national marketplace; where you can buy something locally in your community, or you can buy from someone around the country, and the process is very similar and it's very streamlined, summarized Brenhouse. "Really for the first time."


About the author:

Julia Wilkinson is the author of "The eBay Price Guide" (No Starch Press, 2006) and "eBay Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks" (Wiley, 2004-6). Her free "Yard Salers" newsletter is at available at YardSalers.net where you will also find her latest ebook, Flip It Again.


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