OLX: Pakistan’s Biggest Marketplace

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Online selling and buying from other people on the internet used to be an inconceivable idea not long ago, but today it is the first thing that comes to mind if you wish get rid of something. In Pakistan, OLX (short for online exchange) has become a household name for online buying and selling. Strong advertisement campaigns on the radio, television and the internet has made OLX.com.pk the premier online marketplace in Pakistan with about 2.6 million ads currently posted on its website and five million unique visitors every month.

International Reach

It might be apparent to viewers watching OLX television ads on Indian channels that OLX is not a phenomenon strictly restricted to Pakistan. In fact, OLX is spread all over the world: present in more than a 100 countries and available in over 50 languages.

OLX was cofounded in 2006 by internet entrepreneurs Alec Oxenford and Fabrice Grinda, who are responsible for several other successful internet-based businesses. Today, however, 95% of OLX is owned by a South Africa-based multinational mass media company called Naspers. Naspers helped OLX become a global brand by rebranding its various online classified services in several countries to the common banner of OLX.

What’s it about

OLX, as the name suggests, is an online trading place where anyone can buy or sell used/new items or offer/purchase services using the free ads on the website. OLX Pakistan covers almost everything imaginable in its marketplace. In terms of products, you can choose from mobile phones, tablets, electronics, cars, furniture, home appliances, clothes, books and many other categories. The website also features sections on posting and finding jobs, all forms of services, and real estate.

Selling and Buying

Posting an ad is simple: go to the website, choose the relevant category, and add details, photos and your personal information to post the advertisement. The ad is posted in the next 3 to 6 hours, and prospective buyers can contact you directly via your provided phone number or an OLX-assisted email dialog box.

If you are looking to buy something, you can browse the categories available or search for the item that you wish to purchase. The search becomes more customized as you enter the specific categories, for example within Cars, you can tweak with price, make, mileage, condition, seller type and location to find exactly what you want.

Mobile app

OLX has also launched a mobile app that helps integrate your phone into the process by allowing you to take photos directly from the app and make the posting process quicker and easier. The app is extremely easy to use and navigate, which reflects the overall idea behind OLX as a simple tool that can be used by just about anyone.

The Good

The success of OLX lies in its simplicity – for buyers and sellers, it only takes a short amount of time to achieve your goal on the website. Strong advertisement strategy and first mover advantage meant that OLX became synonymous with online trading and obtained that necessary traffic of sellers and buyers needed for a marketplace to work.

The Bad

There is not much that OLX does wrong – it’s simple yet intuitive interface caters to almost all your needs. What it does lack is the customization that websites specific to exchange of certain products have such as PakWheels.com for cars. These product-specific websites can provide additional information, blogs and discussion forums for buyers and sellers who are enthusiastic about the products to do more than just buy and sell.

Like other open-for-all online market places, there is always a risk of fraud and crime as the website does not obtain enough verifiable information from users to hold them accountable later. Users bear the complete responsibility of taking the right precautions to ensure their safety.

OLX does provide standard instructions to take those precautions for new users who might not be familiar with the common methods used by fraudsters and criminals on such online marketplaces.

Helping Progress

The increasing use of platforms like OLX leverages technology for the benefit of the society. By creating an equal platform to buy and sell from the convenience of your home, OLX has really changed the meaning of several consumer-to-consumer markets. In the future, OLX is likely to continue growing in terms of market penetration, with a possibility of expanding into related markets such as matrimonial services or online meet-ups.

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10 Size of Market

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  • Uik

    I thought this website was for startups in Pakistan. Does Olx has even one employee in Pakistan?

    • Nida Rasheed

      We also cover websites/startups that are FOR Pakistanis. Thanks for the comment though. :)