OLX updates app, adds image recognition technology

OLX, India’s number one online classifieds, announced a series of industry-first, tech-led changes with the launch of the new OLX App, which will help increase the penetration of online classifieds across regions, age groups, and categories. OLX, the market leader in consumer-to-consumer (C2C) classifieds in India, has leveraged innovative technology and deep consumer understanding to roll out improved and forward-looking product changes on its App that make the online classifieds experience safer, simpler, and social. The new app was rolled out to all of OLX’s Android users by September 27th and rolled out to its remaining user base in the coming weeks.


The new OLX App is expected to fulfill the unmet consumer needs and bring about a new wave of growth for the brand. OLX, which is already the market leader in used cars, bikes, mobile phones, furniture, and electronics, is looking to give scale to some of its other categories with the help of these changes. Pre-owned fashion products and accessories, such as musical instruments, sports equipment, collectibles, and vintage items, have steadily grown on OLX. The new App will facilitate further growth for these under-penetrated categories. OLX expects to double its growth rate as a result of these changes in the next year.

The new OLX App is built on four key pillars:

Registered Users Only: To make the platform more secure, OLX has made it mandatory for all users – sellers and buyers – to register for accessing the platform. Users can register with either of the following: Facebook, Google+, and phone number. Social media log-ins will allow users to see mutual friends, apart from revealing the transaction history of other users, how long they have been using OLX, as well as their location. Mandatory log-ins will imply that there are no anonymous users on OLX anymore. It will increase familiarity amongst users and make the OLX experience a more secure one. Mandatory registration will help bring women users to OLX by providing a safer environment for them to transact in.

Snap and Post – Super Simple Process: The new OLX App has reduced the Ad posting time by more than 50% by introducing the image recognition technology. The image recognition technology (introduced primarily for the under-penetrated categories) allows users to post an Ad in as little as 10 seconds. The image-recognition feature generates an auto-title and auto-category for the item being posted. All one needs to do is to take a photograph of the item, state the price, and it’s good to go. This change makes the posting process super simple and will be extremely beneficial for the new-to-net population Wide News.

Chat First, Restrictions on Calling: The new OLX App protects user privacy, making the platform safer. The default settings of the new OLX App do not reveal the phone number of the seller. OLX Chat is the only way to get in touch with the sellers until they decide to reveal their phone numbers. This ensures two things: [1] The platform does not make the user’s phone number public, protecting his/her privacy, and [2] OLX empowers the seller to decide whether they want to reveal their phone number at all. There are also chat templates available on each chat window, making the experience simpler, especially for the new-to-net population. Restricting the conversation between the buyer and the seller to OLX chat also makes the process more instant. This feature will benefit women users, who especially seek trusted platforms where their identity is protected.

Hyper-Local Experience: The hyper-local experience has been introduced to allow users to find great products in their vicinity. This particularly helps facilitate transactions for low-value items in the under-penetrated categories for which it does not make sense to travel large distances. The new OLX App shows products closest to the user’s current location. This helps the user in four distinct ways: [1] It helps buyers find products closest to them, reducing the challenges of travel and logistics that emerge with larger distances.

[2] It makes the browsing and buying experience simpler as the users don’t have to search for the items closest to them manually. [3] It facilitates neighborhood commerce by promoting trade in the geographical area that the user is most comfortable in. [4] It places the power in the hands of the users by letting them change their current location as many times as they want and increases the distance of search to as much as 500 km at any given time.

Apart from these product-centric changes, the App itself has transformed a design perspective. In line with its new-age experience, the App is more visual with an image-first design. Said Amarjit Singh Batra, CEO, OLX India, “Consumer insights played a pivotal role in conceptualizing and introducing these changes. The annual OLX Consumer Research on Used Goods and Selling Trends (CRUST) for 2015-16 revealed that Indians are stocking unused goods worth INR 78,300 Crore.

This, along with other consumer insights, pushed us to think about the unmet needs of the users and the new ways in which we could make selling and buying of unused goods simpler for them. We also looked at some of the broader challenges confronting the industry. Since online is still a very nascent industry in India, users do have trust and comfort issues. Women and the new-to-net population particularly find it hard to navigate around these. We decided to deal with the problem head-on by providing simple and tech-led solutions.

OLX, which is present in 40 countries, started marketing in India five years ago. It disrupted the online classifieds market in India by establishing and popularizing the consumer-to-consumer (C2C) trade, and a concept is hitherto almost unheard of. OLX is already the largest marketplace for used cars, bikes, mobile phones, household items, and real estate in the country, with an 80% market share of the C2C trade. OLX India gets 3.4 billion page-views a month, with 90% of its traffic coming from mobile. It is also the number one buying + selling App in India on Google Play Store. It is the biggest marketplace for used goods and the number one marketplace in India for many verticals such as used cars. OLX sells an estimated 72% of all the used cars sold in India each month.

“With our new App, we have made significant improvements on three fronts in particular. First, features such as ‘Chat First’ are bold, industry-first moves that, along with mandatory registration, enhance the platform’s trustworthiness, making our users more secure. Second, by allowing users to see products closest to them, we have tried to provide an authentic hyper-local classifieds experience based on ease and simplicity. Third, by introducing novel features such as image recognition for products, we have made the seller’s posting experience agiler and demonstrated how technology could benefit consumer benefit. We will continue to innovate to provide a more friction-free user experience. We are firmly marching forward on our growth path and expect to double our growth in the coming year,” added Batra.


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