OLX aiming to be ‘more mobile’

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cebu senior marketing manager Regina Aguilar, head of operations Arianne David, managing director RJ David and AVP for business, marketing and sales Me-anne Bundalian amrk the opening oa the OLX Philippines office in Cebu. (Sun.Star Foto/Allan Defensor)


WITH 50 percent of their traffic generated by mobile users, online classifieds website OLX Philippines is aiming at becoming a more mobile company, its Philippine founder said.

RJ David, who co-founded the Philippine site with his wife Arianne, was in Cebu yesterday to bless their Cebu office at the ground floor of the Mercedes Benz Tower in Cebu Business Park. Formerly called Sulit.com.ph, OLX was rebranded last year after Sulit landed an investment with South African company Naspers, which had under its belt the global ads site OLX.

With the merging of rival online ads site Ayos Dito, OLX now has a member base of more than three million and one million active postings nationwide. Asked how the merger affected their users, David admitted it is difficult to say, as many OLX users were also using Ayos Dito before the merger.

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The company hopes to provide better support to mobile users with the OLX app and David expects OLX Philippines to “soon become a mobile first company.”

David said most Filipinos who first access the Internet nowadays access it from mobile phones. With more affordable options for smartphones and free Internet deals from service providers, he said it only makes sense to develop this platform. They are partnering with the Facebook app Internet.org to provide free access to OLX.

Incidentally, mobile phones were the most sold items on OLX and are the third most searched item from Cebu.

To ensure their presence in the Visayas and Mindanao, David said they found it necessary to open a Cebu office to house a local team promoting OLX.

The Cebu office serves as their headquarters for the Visayas and Mindanao. The 103-square-meter office will house the marketing staff and serve as their deal hub. They also employed 20 brand ambassadors to go house to house and encourage more people to sell their secondhand items online and make a profit. Next month, the brand ambassadors will be going around barangays in Mandaue City.

He pointed out that in 2012, not many knew about Sulit in Cebu, which led them to consider developing their presence in the Visyayas and Mindanao. He said Cebu is strategic for this market because it is closer and many other provinces speak the same language.

There are no plans to open up other OLX offices in other parts of the country yet. They are concentrating on improving content of the site.

Cebu senior marketing manager Regina Aguilar said they started with just three, but noticed that it was effective, thus leading them to hire more. Since January, they noticed 10,000 new listers from Cebu every month. The feedback they get from online sellers is that after posting an ad, they can get inquiries within 30 minutes or within the day. About 58 percent of those who sell on OLX are able to sell their items.

The most searched items are cars, motorcycles and mobile phones while the most sold items are smartphones, laptops and computers.

Aguilar said buyers and sellers can use their office to meet up and complete their transactions.

Security is one of the issues hounding online transactions and Aguilar said they hope to provide a venue where their users can feel safe. They also encourage buyers to meet the sellers first before buying anything to inspect the product.

David said that 99 percent of the time, fraud is lessened if buyers meet with the sellers. Aguilar added that if any of their clients become victims, they can facilitate the reporting of the crime. David said that they work closely with the law enforcement agencies and the Department of Trade and Industry and have a database of all complaints and scams.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 26, 2015.

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