The OLX Group, a Naspers-owned online classifieds operator that’s active in around 40 countries, sees big possibilities for chat in classifieds and is building out its in-platform chat capabilities.

This is according to an OLX global product owner from the company’s tech hub in Gurgaon, India Praful Poddar (LinkedIn profile).  He described the journey to create a customized chat for classifieds that will help close more deals in a recent blog post on Medium.

Praful Poddar, global product owner, OLX Group

OLX started with the question, “Do we need it?” It launched chat in the OLX India app last year and saw the number of chats exceed the number of calls, along with a rise in liquidity (successful sellers). Customer feedback told them users like chat because it’s non-intrusive and familiar, and it protects privacy (no need to share phone numbers). OLX benefits from the fact that the feature keeps users on the app and provides the company with valuable user experience data.

Based on its experience in India, Poddar’s team built in several capabilities into the chat function:

  • A log of calls and chats: users see all communications in one place
  • A “make-an-offer” button for buyers
  • Voice messages and other WhatsApp capabilities

OLX has since developed a feature it calls Intelli-Chat: “an intelligent engine that helps users contextually close deals faster”. In a nutshell, the chat suggests messages or next steps based on previous interactions. It also prompts sellers to remove items already sold with one click.

Intelli-Chat rolled out in South Africa recently, and results have been “awesome,” writes Poddar. Over 50 percent of users adopt the suggestions the chat shows them. There’s still no word on when the function will be introduced in other markets.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Articles