All Posts in Features

August 31, 2017 - No Comments!

Introducing… Paperclip Groups!

Say hello to Paperclip Groups!

Back in May we released an article on 2 key marketplace behavioral insights and how they’ve shaped features for version 2.0, which outlined why we removed the price from version 2.0.

This is the second part of that article, explaining the second key insight that led to a new feature on our marketplace... Paperclip Groups, the ability to make and join micro-marketplaces based on your interests and location. Think Facebook Buy/Sell Groups but done right.

The introduction of Paperclip Groups means that our marketplace users now have the ability to create (or join) a private (or public) marketplace based on their interests or location, adding a layer of confidence for buying and selling as part of a trusted community.

Examples of Paperclip Groups in action:

FRIENDS AND FAMILY: Create or join your own private marketplace for family and friends! It takes just seconds to add vintage clothes, gadgets, fashion accessories, 2nd hand electronics, and used books. Once they’re online you can sell and swap them amongst your nearest and dearest.

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Get your neighbours, street, or apartment building involved and trade all of your preloved bikes, TVs and furniture with trusted people locally within your community.

SCHOOLS AND MOTHERS: Kids grow up so fast these days, and so why not make or join a group to trade their outgrown clothes, 2nd hand accessories, unwanted toys and prams with other parents nearby?

STUDENTS & UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES: What better way to make some friends at university than selling and swapping your used games console and games, fashion, second hand furniture and even that ‘vintage’ car you got for your 18th birthday?

"What data pointed towards this decision?"

INITIAL DISCUSSIONS - UNIVERSITY FOCUS GROUPS

Imagine you’ve just gone to university and moved into your halls of residence. You’ve somehow forgotten a few things. Now how much easier would life be knowing you were able to join a buy/sell group where you can find what you need all within the radius of let’s say, 1 mile. Let’s face it there are a lot of people who over pack and probably have a few things lying around.

In fact our core differentiator was pitched by our Swansea University interns, who wanted a way to trade with people of similar interests. This insight proved crucial and had a positive initial reaction during closed trials.

FURTHER RESEARCH - IS THIS A PROBLEM WORTH SOLVING?

We found that 38% of people wouldn’t use a marketplace to buy and sell because they do not trust the people on it. However, of those 38% surveyed, 8 out of 10 indicated that they would use a marketplace if they shared a common interest with the other users. This is why groups is brilliant, because you can join or create a group for other like-minded people, whether they are other students at your university, neighbours on your street, or people who love the same hobby as you.

OK IT'S A PROBLEM. IS ANYONE SOLVING IT?

So, we found from students that they want buy/sell groups. We did some research and found that other marketplace users want groups as well. So now it was time to find out if there was anyone actually solving this problem - what were people using for buy/sell groups?

In short, it was/is Facebook. There are over 200 million buy/sell groups on Facebook, and combined they have more than 200 million transactions performed on them each month. That's a hell of a lot of use for a 'shoe-horned' solution - Facebook Groups are not designed well for this purpose. In fact, we tried using them for a bit and quickly found that they lack some key marketplace features; there are no categories, searching is difficult, there is no transaction of verification process, and the list goes on.

Not only that, but when surveyed, just 9% of people felt comfortable sharing their used buying and selling habits on the social networking tool - they didn't want friends and family from around the world to see that they're selling. They were worried about status and privacy.

SO, HOW ARE YOU SOLVING THIS PROBLEM?

To recap, we've identified 2 key problems;

  1. people want to use buy and sell groups for secondhand items
  2. the only way to do this currently is Facebook, and people don't want to share their buying and selling habits on Facebook

The answer (ie. our solution) is simple; Paperclip Groups.

Response to Paperclip Groups

Given the data and our research, we had always expected groups to be something of a game changer - and we're pleased to see that the response has been positive. We've seen more and more groups created each day, and an increase of returning users. Our most popular group categories are Cars & Motors, Mother & Baby, Smartphones & Women’s Fashion.

An integral part of Paperclip Groups is the 'item request' feature, which allows group members to post requests for specific items for all to see. Thanks to this feature, you can be instantly alerted when an item that you're looking for is added to the group, meaning you'll be exclusively informed and are first in line to contact the seller. The barrier in finding a particular item has now been removed, which brings a new aspect to Paperclip Groups’ that speeds up the process for both buyers and sellers.

Personally, I've seen the 'Car Buy/Sell/Swap' group to be one of my favorites, with hundreds of people and cars being added over the past few months. You can access the group here.

At the other end of the spectrum is an interesting 'K Pop' group for Korean music and related items - it's awesome to see people getting use out of Paperclip Groups!

What's next?

We'll continue to listen to our users and monitor the data before launching new features. The next big thing is just weeks away now, the release of our very own web platform! As of October you'll be able to buy, sell and swap with people via your desktop browser!

Let us know of any features you'd like added, or your feedback on Paperclip Groups at hello@paperclip.co

Rich

 

Published by: Rich Woolley in Features, New Feature

May 22, 2017 - No Comments!

Version 2.0 is here!

After nearly a year of design, development, and testing, our shiny new version 2.0 is finally available on iPhone and Android!

"But what's new - how can you actually improve upon the nouveau-marketplace app status quo?" perhaps some might ask...

Well, let me tell you a story son.

Prior to starting our design phase for v2.0, we spoke to a bunch of our most devoted users, looked at all of our user behaviour data, held focus groups and sent out surveys to our target user groups (Mothers and Students). The result was a decent idea of what was missing with both traditional and upcoming marketplaces - a ton of features and functions that users actually want. So then we got to work, and a year later it's finally live!

So what's new for version 2.0?

NEW INTERFACE & DESIGN: Our resident design surgeon, Dr. Roberts, has completely redesigned the layout of Paperclip to create a refined user experience. The results speak for themselves.

version, buy, sell, swap, app

 

REMOVED PRICES: Removing prices means you have a better chance of getting more for the items you are selling, it also eliminates annoying seller-inflated prices which put folk off buying an item. Sellers can still set a minimum price, which means they'll only receive offers above the set price - but buyers won't get to see this. A lot of user feedback and data pointed towards this decision.

The ultimate ambition with removing the price is;

To encourage buyers to make offers which they deem are fair, without being influenced by a guide price. You don't see a price tag on your friend's unwanted iPhone do you?

  1. To emphasize the value of everyday items laying unused around your home - many people see a currency symbol and immediately think about making cash offers, neglecting the fact that they're surrounded by unwanted items which are essentially 'cash on the shelf'
  2. To get buyers and sellers to negotiate and engage in real-life negotiation processes

We wrote an article about this here - if you get turned on by stats you're in for a satisfying afternoon.

MAKE YOUR OWN MARKETPLACE WITH PAPERCLIP GROUPS: This one's a bit of a game-changer as far as we're concerned... and something that probably took the longest to get right in terms of development. You can now create a private or public marketplace for your friends, family, university, community - anything you like really. Again, a lot of data pointed towards adding this feature, and the only way to currently do this with existing platforms is via Facebook Groups (did you know that there are 200 million of them!?). Just 9% of those surveyed felt comfortable sharing their secondhand buying and selling habits with friends and family on Facebook. To put it succinctly, we're going to do for those 200 million Facebook Buy/Sell groups what Eventbrite did for Facebook Events - add a transaction process, advanced verification processes, and most importantly... take them off Facebook!

version, buy, sell, swap, app

Paperclip Groups are like Facebook Buy/Sell Groups, but on steroids, which is kind of apt because Paperclip is based in Wales, the juice capital of the world.

NEGOTIATE: With Paperclip version 2.0, you are not limited to only being able to accept or decline an offer. You can now negotiate, which means you don’t have to keep declining an offer until you get what you want. You can send a counter-offer to the buyer indicating what you are willing to accept, it is then on them to accept, decline, or negotiate again. This is how we do it in life so why not bring it to the 21st century?

TRADE CENTRE: A dedicated and easy to use transaction section, which automatically filters all your offers, messages, and notifications into buying and selling… you’re welcome.

version, buy, sell, swap, app

Our newly introduced Trade Centre section helps you manage all of your offers, messages, notifications and transactions all in one place, handy eh?

 

RESPONSE RATES & REVIEWS: Unresponsive users and time-wasters are one of the biggest problems with marketplace. We trawled through hundreds of reviews from other marketplace platforms and gained a lot of insight; problems with unresponsive buyers and sellers were among the most common reasons for negative reviews. We have added several new features to prevent this from happening, and to help manage expectations with inactive buyers and sellers. Every Paperclip user now has a response rate, which falls if they fail to respond to other users within an appropriate time. We have also opened up the review process so you can leave a user review at any time, not just after a trade has been completed.

ADVANCED VERIFICATION: Safety has never been more important to us, with more items and users being added to Paperclip each week than ever before. Indeed, one of our co-founders recently wrote an article claiming that 'trust is the new currency in the economy' - he has absolutely no clue what he's talking about of course, but he does have a good point... trust is important.  For this reason, we've added some enhanced security and verification settings. In short, you can now verify your account via Facebook, email, and SMS - and you can check the verification status of other buyers and sellers on their profile. I'm not going to lie to your pretty faces and tell you that we spent hours researching trust processes, we basically we took a look at how other sharing economy based startups such as Uber and Airbnb were solving the trust issue... and emulated their verification processes.

So there you go, after nearly a year of design and development we've finally released a product that we're proud of; a purpose-built marketplace based on extensive user feedback, with innovative features that we can proudly say you won't find elsewhere.

Download Paperclip v2.0 today for: Android | iPhone

So what's next?

We'll be starting slow with the ramp-up for this version; we'll take a month's worth of user behaviour and feedback to refine the user experience for a version 2.1 release in June, and then we'll start cracking on with some rather serious new features for 2.2 and beyond, which should put us in a strong position to take over Wales / the UK / Europe / the world within the next decade. Or something like that.

As always, we'd love to hear about how you're finding the version 2.0; whether it's a bug, a new feature, or just something you'd like to rant about, give us a shout at hello@paperclip.co!

Rich

Published by: Rich Woolley in Features, New Feature, News

March 23, 2017 - 1 comment.

Marketplace behavioral insights and how they’ve shaped version 2.0

As part of releasing our new version, we took time to review all of the data that we’d gathered from running a marketplace platform. We looked in depth at everything, and no stone was left unturned.

Other than significant brand, UI and UX overhaul, there are two main outcomes reflected in our v2.0 release. Rather than overload your puny earthling brains with both revelations simultaneously, we’ve focused on sharing the first major change in this article…

Removing the price from Paperclip

We’ve removed the price from our marketplace. This means that you’ll no longer see a ‘guide price’ on items in the app. Of course this could be a ridiculous move, but below is our rationale for such a bold move;

Our proprietary user data, combined with insights collected from user surveys and focus groups all pointed towards removing the price.

We found that;

  • 88% of buyers lowballed the hell out of sellers in their initial offers. Whilst this is, of course, a fundamental to negotiation, we realised that price served as an upper boundary to negotiation
  • 12% of buyers made a cash offer for the actual price; which means that sellers never get more than their list price for the item they’re selling
  • 82% of buyers indicated that a high price was actually putting them off making an offer, while…
  • 60% of buyers admitted to inflating their list prices, knowing that they’d get lowballed
  • 68% of people saw the £ sign and their first thoughts were on a monetary transaction; they forgot all about the massive value that they have just laying about their attic. In other words – people forget all about swapping when they see a price, because money is quite literally on their mind

With the above in mind, it’s clear that having the price on the marketplace was causing bounded rationality in a sense, and so we’ve made a bold decision… and that decision is to remove the price.

Asides from the statistical wet-dream outlined above, what are the benefits of this to the end Paperclip user?

GREATER SATISFACTION, LESS RESENTMENT: It’s psychology, innit. Just bear with me on this while I explain, using a role play scenario;

You’re a buyer that wants to get £50 for a spare bike that you have. Now that your price is hidden from the buyers, you’re likely to receive bids anywhere from £10 to £100 for that bike. Therefore, if Johnny Buyer wants to bid £60 for your bike, and you accept, you’re both going to be happy. Why? Because Johnny Buyer is getting the bike for a price that they are prepared to pay for it, and Sarah Seller is selling her bike for more than she expected to get out of it. So everybody is happy, and it’s all because the price is removed.

LESS TIME TURNING DOWN OFFERS, MORE TIME PLAYING POKEMON

In an effort to prevent these low-ball offers, we’ve also introduced some handy, advanced item features;

  • Offer preferences: you’ll now be able to state your preference of offers (ie. cash only, swaps, cash plus swaps, etc)
marketplace, buy, swap, sell

Steve told me to update the wording of this notification message, totally forgot.

  • Minimum bid price: when selling an item, you can now enter a price that you’re not willing to sell below. This price will be invisible to buyers, and if anyone tries to make an offer below that bid price they’ll be kindly (but firmly) requested to up their offer, saving you the hassle of telling them that yourself

So there you go, a couple of rational reasons for removing the price.

What are your thoughts on this? Feel free to send any feedback to us at hello@paperclip.co or on our Facebook page.

– we welcome your feedback, even if it’s a simple ‘I like banana pancakes’.

Published by: Rich Woolley in Features, New Feature

August 3, 2016 - No Comments!

New feature: ITEM ALERTS

New Feature Alert!

Welcome to Item Alerts. Each month we've been adding a single 'high-impact, low-effort' update to the current version of Paperclip while version 2.0 of Paperclip is in development. We normally do this by fitting in a 3 day development sprint somewhere in to the development schedule for that month. In a perfect world, we would then test it on the Thursday and fix/release it on the Friday. However, in reality we normally spend about a week or so testing and refining it, and then shove it into the app like a tiny duckling with one disproportionate leg three times the size of the other being shoved into a lake for the first time, left to sink or swim. Just kidding, we shove gently and with compassion over here at Paperclip HQ.

This month we had a few options in the features pool, stemming from various discussions over the past few months. We settled on something that we feel adds a lot of value; item alerts

item, buy, swap, sell, marketplace, cardiff, london, app, ios, android

Item alerts will notify you when something you want gets added nearby to you

Following our latest update, users opening Paperclip for the first time since the update will be presented with a pop-up box asking them to choose up to three keywords. Once saved, you'll receive a push notification whenever one of your requested items becomes available near you. 

We feel this feature will definitely help our users get the most out of Paperclip, and it's worth noting that we're offering this feature - along with everything else - completely for free (unlike one of our competitors, who shall remain nameless but rhymes with Spock).

Enjoy!

Rich

Published by: Rich Woolley in Features, News

April 29, 2016 - 1 comment.

Juggling work and Paperclip

I heard a quote once that has stuck with me:

“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and idea-graveyarddreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step.”

What they don’t tell you though is how hard and long that first step really is. You have some people who can take that step with confidence and determination, like Rich who founded Paperclip. Then you have those who just never follow through on their ideas or dreams, who kick themselves when they see their idea being advertised somewhere. Finally, there is me, who is smack in the middle. It took me 2 years of little painful shuffles to finally take that first step.

When Rich first told me about the idea of Paperclip I was in my second year of my graduate scheme, trying to blag my way through being a management consultant (only skill you need when being a consultant). At this time Rich had built up a team of around 6 people following a successful Google Start up pitch, my only role at this point was a friendly advisory position. Over this advisory time most of my recommendations were to get rid of the others (apart from Ziad who is our other legendary co-founder) in a true consultancy fashion. This resulted in the team being severely depleted so I started to help out on more of the BAU ‘Business as usual’ tasks (can’t shift the consultancy lingo) but unlike Rich I was having to do this whilst also trying to smash my grad scheme.


 

Sorry for that random spiel, I’m finally getting to the point of this blog which is to talk about how I managed to juggle my day job and Paperclip commitments before I took the big step.  The truth is, it wasn’t actually as hard as you might think but that’s because of a few key points which helped massively:

  1. I had a great employer

Most management consultancy are cold, ruthless environments who drain every last bit of energy out of you, resulting in you never having a chance to pursue outside ideas (I have nothing to base this on but sounds good for the story).

This is where I was lucky because although the management consultancy I worked for is one of the biggest companies in the UK (a FTSE 250 company) it prides itself on promoting a strong work life balance. This meant 90% of the time I would be finished work by 6, which gave me time to work in the evening. I’d also sometimes use the train in the morning to do work but in reality id be asleep 5 mins into my journey.

Working in Google Campus after a long day at work

Working in Google Campus after a long day at work

I was also open with my line manager who knew about Paperclip and embraced it provided that it didn’t impact my day job and that I only worked on it in my own time. Interesting point here, if you do any external work on company property, they can claim IP rights over it.

  1. I have great/patient co-founders

Everyone hates that person who doesn’t pull their weight and at times that was me - sometimes my actual job took priority!

Zee and Rich having a wet t-shirt comp at the Xmas party

Zee and Rich having a wet t-shirt comp at the Xmas party

It must have driven Rich and Zee crazy as they were both full time. However, they were very understanding and accepted that I had a day job as well. It’s always difficult when you have a mix of part time and full time founders but we managed to make it work, which is down to Rich and Zee’s flexibility.

My advice here is to just be honest with your co-founders, it is better to say you have no time to do something then to try and do it half-arsed whilst half asleep.

 

 

  1. I bought extra holiday

Another perk of my job was that I could buy up to 15 days a year holiday, which would leave me with 40 days a year, which is basically 3 months. This was needed for those times when after work or weekend work wouldn’t be enough such as the time I was on TV and the radio (yeah I’ve done both... baller!).

  1. I made time for myself

You always read something like this in advice articles and I use to hate it and think ‘what a load of bullsh#t’ but it’s so true!

We have all had those days at work where everything has gone wrong and all you want to do is crawl into bed and die. Now, imagine having to go home after that day to grind out 3-4 hours of work, which you don’t even get paid for! It does take its toll on you and you start to lose motivation, which is when it can all spiral out of control.

Luckily, this rarely happened to me, which I think is due to being a very chilled-out person and because I would always make sure I had time away from Paperclip and work. Throughout the 2 years I made sure that I still played football, went to the gym, played golf, saw friends/family, and had holidays. The last thing I wanted to do was to resent working either on my day job or Paperclip, the distractions helped me re-focus and continue with determination.

Champions

Champions

  1. I outsourced work

I read a lot about co-founders wanting to be involved in every aspect of work… seriously? You need to chill out, it’s not healthy!

We all have our roles in the company and if you hire people or companies its because they are good at what they do and you need to trust them. We outsourced all of our development and elements of our marketing and user acquisition campaigns. We had full control of the direction and process but rather than babysitting them through every task we would let them get on with it, which freed up our time to do other things, like my actual day job.

Our Swansea Interns

Our Swansea Interns

I’m not saying the all-seeing all-doing founder approach is wrong but you need to find the right balance that fits your circumstance.


 

Well, there you have it, my first blog and piece of advice I have ever given. The main point which is probably hidden in the waffle of a blog and terrible grammar is that you don’t have to be an all or nothing person to follow through on your ideas.

Thanks for reading.

Alan

Published by: alan in Features, Musings, News, Perspective

January 8, 2016 - No Comments!

Everyone loves a good old map!

What is it about a map that we love so much? When ever we are given an address, location, or postcode we feel we have to google its location to see exactly where it is on the map in relation to where we are. We have this urge to be able to say 'Oh, I know where that is' or 'That's not too far away', it provides us with a level of confidence as we are able to see where something/someone is located, which makes it seem more real.

We are not saying this is a bad thing, we see this as a necessity with most social interactions having an element of location included: 'What club we hitting tonight?', 'Where the f*ck are you, I've been waiting for 30 minutes', 'Where you from?', 'Meet you at the BP on London Road' or 'Rich Woolley has checked into Pure, Cardiff'.

maps_2

Over the past few months we have been working with our users to find out what functionality they want to see in Paperclip. The number one thing users said they would love to see is a map view of the items, so they are able to browse a map and see items and their exact location. HOWEVER, they also said they wanted to be able to browse items the traditional way, which started to make us wish we never spoke to them or made this app in the first place. Saner heads prevailed and we got down to the design and development and what we have produced we know your are going to love.

    As of January 2016 Paperclip's latest update now includes 'Map View'!

Map

Map View Icon

The traditional item browsing functionality is still the default view but all you have to do now is to click the icon on the right whilst you are browsing items and it will take you to our sexy map view of those items.......its that simple!

Map view will enhance your user experience and make trading those unwanted items easier, faster, and more interactive. Below are our 5 top reasons why:

  1. You can now view exactly where items are locally rather than just being told they are within 5 miles of you
  2. Provides you with the confidence that the item is real
  3. Will make the trade even easier as you will know where you need to go to exchange the items or you can select a location which is more convenient for both parties
  4. It will show you if a user has multiple items which you can quickly preview whilst in map view
  5. If you are going to be in a different location on a given day, you can now browse that location to see if there are any items you would like to trade for prior to visiting

 

These are just some of the improvements map view will make to your Paperclip experience but please do let us know what you think of it and if you have any improvements you would like to see, just email info@paperclip.co

Thanks and lets get trading!

Alan Small

COO, Co-Founder

Published by: alan in Features, News