Increasing number of accepted offers on Carousell

I’ve been a huge fan of the Carousell app since it launched. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s an app that allows sellers to list an item for sale just by snapping a photo and buyers can purchase items by chatting with sellers via an in-built private chat messenger:

Example of Carousell

Since launching in 2012, the peer-to-peer marketplace has listed eight million new and second-hand products in categories like fashion, beauty, furniture, and baby items. Over two million items have been sold on the app – that’s eight transactions a minute. According to the press release, the average active Carousell user spends about 21 minutes a day browsing the app, which is comparable to Instagram.

Source: Yahoo Finance

Based on the above quote, some of their performance metrics include:

  1. Number of listings
  2. Time spent in app
  3. No. of accepted offers

The product people at Carousell have done a terrific job so far.

If you’ve ever listed something on Carousell before, you’re going to be receiving a ton of messages asking:

“Still available?”

“Can do $ X?”

“More pics?”

Responding with the same answer to 1, or even 5 is manageable. But when you get a flood of 20 different people asking you the same questions, it can get pretty tiring.

To address that, a new feature with preset responses was introduced to reduce the effort it takes for people to respond to messages (They launched this before even Google’s Inbox released the feature called Smart Reply!) I thought that was a pretty smart move. Make it easier for your users so they don’t feel burnt out from using the app.

Smart Responses Highlighted
Templated responses allow you to faster respond to the same questions easily

I’m pretty sure this feature increased the number (if not, the velocity) of transactions happening on the app because it’s still around.

I thought to myself, what else could possibly be done to increase any one of the above mentioned metrics?

Carousell users, from my experience, have a need to negotiate. And sometimes, you find bad apples in the bunch who make ridiculously low offers for your item making every other Carousell listing look like this:

Lowballer messages in every other listing. If you don’t believe me, just open the app and search “lowballer”

Reading that in every other listing just turns me off for some reason. I’m also not the only one who finds this entire experience unpleasant. Sellers have threads in local forums talking about it:

Thread from HWZ. 35 pages and counting
Thread from HWZ. 35 pages and counting
Sample comment from thread
Sample comment from thread

There’s even a Tumblr page called Carouhell that documents screenshots of ridiculous buyers/sellers on the app.

So, how can we put measures in place to ensure people don’t lowball as much?

Here’s something that I would like to test. This is what the current “Make Offer” screen looks like now:

Current “Make Offer” screen

What if we added some options to the Make Offer screen to allow users to pre-select discounts from a list instead of using free text?

Make Offer Example
Alternate “Make Offer” screen with pre-set discount options

People are programmed to want a discount. With that in mind, let’s try controlling more tightly the types of offers a prospective buyer could make.

And just to be a little cheeky (let’s inject some personality into the app!), we’ll have some messages to deter lowballing.

Lowballer Alert
Lowballer messages. Do you think this will deter people from making unrealistic offers?

I’d love to run this as an experiment across a small group of users and see if:

  1. Number of accepted offers increased
  2. Number of listings containing the word “lowballer” decreases
  3. We can establish the average discount across products where these options are presented – This could be used for another recommended price feature that I’d be documenting soon.

Do you think this would make for a better buying and selling experience on the app?