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EBay innovates classifieds with location-based Close 5 app

EBay’s  new location-based mobile application called Close 5 looks to innovate consumer-to-consumer online commerce, an area that is attracting a growing number of competitors such as Threadflip, Classy and others.

Close 5 launched this week in San Diego, enabling residents to sell items to others in their area. EBay and Threadflip are leading the way in C2C solutions as technology is enabling consumers to buy and sell in ways most convenient for them.

“The Threadflip look and feel and customer experience were created for a P2P community and served that audience well,” said Meghan Cast, vice president of marketing at Threadflip, San Francisco. “We used technology to build a trust-based community which surfaces items by enabling the community to interact.”

Taking the reins
Close 5 allows users to buy and sell products within their area and perform local exchanges instead of shipping those items and is currently limited to San Diego residents, who now can conduct local transactions with others in their area.

To get locals interested, a current contest entices users to submit a photo of their messiest closet or garage to enter for a chance to win a certificate for a closet or garage makeover.

Close 5 is also celebrating the launch of the app by making a donation to a San Diego charity every time a user downloads the app. 

To use the app, smartphone users can snap a photo and upload it to the app, key in a description and start selling. A chat function in the app allows buyers and sellers to communicate directly and arrange a time and place to exchange goods and payment.

A similar solution comes from start-up company Blade  and is called Classy. The recently releeased mobile application allows Boston college students to buy and sell products locally without fees using a seamless, accessible platform on their smartphones.

Students can buy or sell textbooks, furniture, electronics and more using the Classy app, which lacks shipping capabilities, prompting buyers and sellers to meet in person on campus to deliver merchandise. Eliminating shipping is an attempt to create a more direct process for buyers and sellers (see story).

Close 5 is available for free download on iOS and Android devices.

“This app has a good chance to succeed,” said Paul Alvarez, vice president of sales and business development at Atimi, Toronto. “Unfortunately in today’s society, in-person transactions have some safety concerns and by providing transparency to the buyer and seller, eBay has a chance to provide validity to that activity.

“By focusing on location, buyers have the opportunity to not get too attached to an item only to find the seller is physically too far for the transaction to be realized,” he said. “The feature where users can adjust distances for their preference eliminates a lot of unnecessary back and forth early in the purchase process.”

Offering a new appeal
Threadflip’s redesigned app takes into consideration the bricks-and-mortar experience for customers. Threadflip found that customers decide where to consign their clothes based on the other items being sold in that particular sold. That said, Threadflip launched a Full Service feature that prioritizes today’s fashion trends, hoping to appeal to more users.

In addition to the new Full Service feature, Threadflip’s redesign also features popular categories for users to reference items that are trending, an Editor’s Picks section, Featured Sellers, filter options, Apple Pay integration and a new Profile Page design.

Numerous mobile applications have emerged enabling users to buy and sell fashions, but not all are likely to survive.

Until Instagram ultimately took center stage in the photo-editing category, numerous apps competed for consumer attention in app stores. A similar whittling down of offerings could be imminent in the “sell fashion” category, where there are currently more than 50 offerings, including Poshmark, Vinted, closetremix, Bib + Tuck and Threadflip (see story).

Threadflip is undoubtedly a leader in this category.

“Threadflip has always understood we are both a technology and apparel company,” Ms. Cast said. “We wanted to share our point of view on what is desirable while accommodating the smart shoppers of today who depend on technology to uncover what they love.

“The new look and feel marries both even better,” she said.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York