I've been in the e-commerce world since I first became an entrepreneur at 18 years old flipping items on Craigslist before they had gallery view. I've had success in the business and sold a company called Swappel, very similar to OfferUp, to eBay in 2012.
I've loved offerup for many years, it's by far my favorite local app for used e-commerce. I'm just now starting to take it seriously as a potential sales channel for me and my business. I've written out the most immediate concerns when it comes to using offerup as a Seller and I will continue to update this post as I go and have more insight.
These have been the biggest issues I see from my own personal user experience and I wanted to start a discussion with others to see if I'm alone or if my feedback can be heard.
Im personally running into a huge pain point right now with almost $1500 in pending funds from 3 sales.
My problem is that I sell, for the most part, large and heavy equipment. My most recent sale is a Laboratory Vacuum Pump that sold for $400 and weighs 85lbs. With my Amazon and Ebay store I sell these items all of the time and the buyer is gladly willing to pay the ($100ish) shipping cost of freight because the market generally lowers price to compensate for added shipping cost.
This provides three major problems that I don't see a solution to on offerup as a seller. 1. The shipping options allowed when posted a listing for sale are much much to vague for not only the seller but even for the buyer. The gaps in "medium" to "large" package for cost could even be costing the buyer extra funds for a shipment that is not accurate. Same goes for a seller who doesn't over compensate by selecting the largest size just to cover themsellf on cost and hope they don't lose funds out of pocket.
2. I'm forced to cover these high shipping costs completely out of pocket because funds aren't released until the buyer has received and reviewed the item (a great rule in place to protect the buyer which is 100% necessary, not arguing that). When you have perhaps 150 things similar to this listed it's not uncommon for me to have a weeks worth of sales add up to an out of pocket shipping cost of $1000+. Perhaps releasing the cost of shipping immediately for trusted and verified sellers could be a solution? I can't be alone with the problem out of pocket shipping costs.
3. Most of the time when an item like mine is shipped its not with a typical usps, FedEx, or ups label that it looks like Offerup's system is equipped to automatically track for triggering delivery. If an item is shipped freight, even if it's UPS freight, it's a separate tracking system that would not verify when attached to the sale of an item for automatic release of funds when an item has been delivered.
Beyond my 3 personal points mentioned above these are the things I believe apply to the product and user experience as a whole. 1. There is zero protection for the seller right now. I can ship a $400 item to the buyer, hope that after a couple of business days the buyer isn't a scammer and my funds are released completing the sale. There's been two times already I've had a buyer purchase items in the last week with a brand new, registered December 2018 account, no other verification except for registration and payment yet they're the ones in control of deciding the fate of funds once an item is shipped. I can cover my own bases by documenting the shipment to the fullest extent but it is still very unfair for offerup to give an account like this validity by waiting on whether or not they dispute the purchase against a seller account like mine which has everything verified, all 5 star reviews and an obvious history of doing good business.
2. Maximum price limit for national shipments and sales. Im very confused why anything over the price of $500 is immediately discounted in eligibility for national/shipment sales? I understand it's a large dollar amount but it's a huge hinderance to both the buyers ability to find specific items and a sellers ability to sell higher end goods. Higher priced items typically are going to be more rare or unique than anything you could find locally making it a no brainer feature addition for national buyers. On the seller side it opens up a new channel for businesses like mine who've found tons of customers here on offerup interested in my equipment but we've had to handle the transaction off-site due to offerup's limitations.
3. Analytics The analytics portion for items being limited to strictly views is absolutely inexcusable. Offerup has so much rich data at its disposal that could be a massive benefit to sellers for increasing sales which in turn leads to better ads, better items being listed and a higher quality experience for buyers. Here's a few I believe are applicable. A. There should be a metric for impressions when a buyer is scrolling/browsing versus impressions via search for a search term B. Keywords or search terms that lead to an impression so sellers can know which parts of their listings are lacking or doing well to improve the others. C. Click-through-rates: not only is impressions essential but knowing what our item view count is comparatively to how many times it was opened will give us an idea if the listing is subpar, lacking information, or maybe even better pictures. With what we have now there's no way to tell any of this.
4. Promotions & Featured Listings A. The featured promotions available seem so clanky, rushed, and like a big scam to me as a seller. $15/month for "promote plus" one single item of my entire inventory is a very large cost when I'm not even told exactly promote is doing for the item, just that on average it increases views. There could be an explanation of why or how it increases views, what is offerup doing behind the scenes to validate the $15/month cost for one item.
B. I would hope to see a monthly seller fee that's more of a premium power seller type of subscription which offers better analytics like mentioned above and tools for increasing your items awareness organically rather than just a promote tool. This could be done with tools like suggested keyword changes in titles, suggestions to use higher resolution images or include more images for a post etc.
C. Ultimately or any Marketplace that's offering something like a promotion on an item, they should be willing to put their money where their mouth is and promote the item for the seller and get paid when the seller does. This would be a promotion on an item in exchange for a percentage commission when the item sells. This is a transparent approach to a paid promotions program we're both the seller and OfferUp benefit at the same time if offer up is fulfilling their promise of "promoting" the item.
Just my thoughts, suggestions, feedback, delusions of grandeur or possibly rants. I'll let you decide
Can I ask how you handle the sales that need to be done outside of the app? I'm currently in that predicament with a pickup truck box outer side panel I'm selling and have a buyer from Texas. Its not very heavy since its just thin guage sheet metal but it is rather large in size, so I think I need to ship via FedEx or UPS. One way I thought would be to create an eBay account, post item on there and then send a link to the buyer. Also I have one of those square readers, so I can accept a credit card payment using that, but thinking of it from a buyers perspective doesn't give any kind of protection against getting burned. And although I'm an honest person who would never rip anybody off, a buyer from the internet has no way of knowing that. So I'm just trying to think of the best way to handle this.
I agree to a lot of what you have mentioned here. Although I have currently sold only one item I quickly realized that my cost to ship as far as the packaging could become costly for me depending on what I ship. I feel I have no protection as a seller. My customer has had the item since January 17th and I still do not have my money for the sale. I have called my bank, verified the account number and still nothing. Offerup states that the money is in my account however it is not. I am unable to reach anyone and everytime I try to send another email to inquire, the internet connection shows an error. I am very frustrated so I could only image if the dollar amounts were higher. Any assistance would be appreciated.
Unfortunately I exchanged contact information and handled the sale independently (probably against offerup's terms of service). I did an invoice, bill of sale and took payment directly.
For payment you have options like sending an invoice through PayPal (I highly highly advise staying far away from PayPal though), sending a Google pay request, or just working with the buyer using something like venmo. Buyers seem to be very understanding of the problem and need the item so they want to work with you to make it work.