Recently I have heard about more and more examples of mobile apps that allow you to sell stuff with the help of your mobile phone and sell it to people that live in your area. In this post I’m going to present you a few of them.

While most of them have their advantages and disadvantages which I’m going to elaborate on, all of them are fulfilling more or less the same purpose: Take a picture of an object, share it and sell it.

Let’s go through each of them in more detail:

1 - Shpock

The first application which is titled “the mobile yard sale" is available for iOS and Android.

On the home screen you are presented a Pinterest-like overview of items that can be found within a certain radius, which is 10km by default.

A nice option is that you can unfold a little menu from the left which reveals all available categories that you can filter by. In order to see where a particular item is located you have to go into the detail view and click on a little map icon. 

The interface to sell items is very simple and can be completed in a matter of seconds. As in all other applications, you can take a photo instantly or choose one from the album.

These are the pros and cons I have experienced with Shpock

  • Simplicity & Ease of use
  • Category search is available
  • See and modify your profile easily
  • Possibility to connect to social networks
  • Item overview not visible as map
  • No fine tuned search after filtering by categories
  • Allows sharing new items only on Facebook

2 - Stuffle

The second candidate is a start-up from the German city of Hamburg. This application is all about “stuffling" which is a fantasy term created from “stuff" and “sale".

Stuffle has recently received a seed funding of German investor Tim Schumacher and is soon going to present an Android version of their app.

The explorative concept is very similar to the one of Shpock and also the sell screen has many similarities.

The applications rather differ in their navigational structure, because Stuffle adds a “negotiation" and “archive" tab for both, buying and seeling, which once understood makes it very easy to navigate.

  • Simplicity & Ease of use
  • Well thought-out navigation structure
  • User guidance through nifty helper messages
  • No possibility to filter by categories
  • No search functionality
  • Allows sharing new items only on Facebook

3 - Smazaar

The next product has its origin in an existing and quite successful online provider of classified ads (www.dhd24.com), so it is build around a strong user base.

While the splash screen is inviting and gives the impression of a foolproof experience, the user interface is actually quite complicated.

First, I wasn’t able to figure out how to actually search for items. While there are three tabs on the top that reveal filtering options for location, price and category, the actual search is only initiated when I press the magnifying glass next to the search box, which is very awkward in terms of usability.

Next, the navigation bar at the bottom is a bit confusing. When I hit the ads button, it shows me an empty screen. I figured out that this is where my own items appear, once I’ve created at least one. What I expected was a screen to explore stuff in my surrounding.

So, once you get a hang of this, the app starts to make sense, however in a product’s detail view I painfully miss some information about the seller and location. Instead, it gives me only the postal code/city and a button to contact  or call the seller. A map is missing completely in my opinion.

  • Search in categories, deeper categories available
  • Provides full-text search
  • Strong user base
  • No items visible on startup screen
  • Design is rather dry, little encouraging
  • Detail view very raw, no location/seller information

4 - Garage

Let’s look at the next one. The main principle that differentiates this app from others is that it’s all about following people. So first you need to set up a list of friends by inviting them from your phone’s contacts or searching through social profiles (Facebook/Twitter).

The screen to explore items presents a tiled overview of items. However it doesn’t indicate neither where the items are sold nor what category they are in. A magnifying glass in the upper left corner allow you to put in some search terms. The detail view is pretty much like Instagram with options for liking and sharing items.

When selling an item you can fill up 4 image placeholders with your own photos and shuffle them around to determine their order. In the next screen you type in a title, description, and what I liked was that it lets you choose the kind of delivery (meet in person or post) and location (in case you’re somewhere else).

Apart from the core functionality, an activity screen allows you to see what your followers are doing and a profile tab provides an Instagram like overview called “My Garage" indicating how many items you sell, who you follow and who follows you.

  • Find people over various networks (Contacts, Facebook, Twitter)
  • Provides flexibility in delivery and location
  • Share items on Facebook and Twitter when selling
  • No category folder (only text search)
  • No map to visualize items’ locations
  • Poor user guidance/onboarding to initially understand the application

5 - myZings

The last application in this series is the product of Valencian mobile developer Javier Rajon of Criteria Studio.

First of all, it provides a nice 5-screen introduction that gives a rough overview of the application and what you can do with it. 

The navigation folds out from the side and provides two major categories: “MyZings", where you can add and manage your own items and the ones from others that you have bookmarked. The second one is “Around You", which includes a map and a list view of items that are located near you.

The detail view is still a bit basic and offers options to contact the owner or share the item on Facebook or via email. It lacks a possibility to place an offer directly from inside the application.

When adding a new item, you can add tags beside the title and the description to make it easier for users to find your item.

A major flaw seems to be that the app behaves sluggish and page transitions as well as the map view are not very smooth at all. This might be due to the fact that the app was developed in Titanium to run on several platforms.

  • Short introduction to app’s core functions
  • Good navigation structure
  • QR code reader to open an item from the app’s website
  • Placing offers not possible from app itself
  • Detail view shows little product/seller info
  • Performance issues