OLX Kenya is on the verge of a big change. No, I don’t mean OLX the company, the company will still remain the OLX you’ve come to love. I mean the OLX Platforms that connect you with your buyers or sellers.
A whole new OLX website
In the course of this month, OLX will roll out a new web interface that will make it easier and faster for you to browse straight into the item you are shopping for and also make it easier and faster to place your listing. The current web interface requires one to scroll down the site in order to view the listing categories, an experience that may not be seamless for a number of users. But after the new interface has been launched, all links to item categories will be visible in single frame (screen) thereby eliminating the need to scroll down to check your listings. To explain vividly, take a look at the two pictures below. The first image is the current OLX.co.ke homepage whereas the second one is what you are going to have after the website is revamped.
Image 1: Current OLX.co.ke Homepage
Image 2: Upcoming OLX.co.ke Homepage
A whole new OLX mobile App
The whole new OLX Experience won’t be limited to the web browsers. Those who access OLX services via their mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) too have a reason to anticipate better and seamless experience as OLX will launch a brand new App. The new App will incorporate several user requirements, needs and desires. At the interface level, the new App won’t be so different from the old one, but at the background there will be a lot of changes. See the top image to have a glimpse of how the new App will look like.
With the new OLX experience, you will be able to do a lot more as new features have been incorporated. Some of these new features include:
Accounts creation and login – Today, just like any other platform that requires user accounts, OLX uses email addresses as the primary identifier, and for one to create an OLX account, he or she must provide a functional email address. Password retrievals, accounts authentications, and communications from OLX team are also done via the email address. But as OLX moves to the new OLX experience, Accounts creation and login will be centered around a person’s mobile number. Thus, just like WhatsApp and today’s version of Facebook Messenger, you will not need to have an email address in order to create an OLX account. Your phone number will be sufficient. This new method of creating accounts that are associated primarily with a person’s mobile phone has two advantages –
- From a user perspective, the mobile App will be able to seamlessly integrate with your phone number thereby eliminating the need for typing in email addresses. You will also be able to use your phone number as the first point of contact either through accepting text based communications straight to the SIM cards or just by sending chat messages within the App. More about the coming OLX chat below.
- In Kenya today, every mobile phone number in use is registered. Thus, when dealing with buyers and sellers, it will be easier to locate any fraudsters or people who may have other malicious intentions. Each OLX account therefore will have a verifiable phone number that will guarantee safety pf other OLX users.
Mobility – Africa is a mobile centric continent. In Nigeria for example the number of people who access the Internet via PCs is negligible, forcing statisticians to report that 100% of those online go online through mobile devices. In Kenya, 99% of Internet subscription and access is via mobile phones, and these statistics are similar across every other African country. Globally too, more and more people are getting connected via mobile phones, a trend that has accelerated since 2007 and in the coming years, Internet access will be through tablets, smartphones, smart watches, goggles, and a million plus one other IoT sensors. OLX has studied these closely thus the decision to redesign both their mobile App and web interface to focus on the future. To cut the long story short – the new OLX Experience will be extremely mobile friendly.
Integration with third party APIs – The new OLX platforms will allow third party APIs to integrate with OLX. Businesses with own e-shops will be enabled to link directly to their OLX listings, and also partnerships with other databases e.g. government registry for ID information will also be possible. The usefulness of this tool will become apparent once agreement between OLX and various businesses and the government have materialized and the third party applications become integrated within OLX.
The African Market – There are people who are mindful of the specific needs of Africa when it comes to data availability and cost. These people include Facebook via their Facebook Lite App and Internet.Org, Google via programs such as Google Loon and Android One, and now OLX. The redesigned OLX App will not only take account of mobility and IoT devices, but will also take cognizance of the fact that in Kenya and the rest of Africa Internet is expensive and mostly available in low speeds. Thus the new OLX App will be able to load faster, consume less data, and provide a smooth experience all at the same time.
Security and Safety – During the briefing to bloggers on the upcoming OLX App, OLX Kenya CEO, Mr.Peter Ndiang’ui stated that the new OLX Experience will heavily rely on machine learning. Not only will machine learning enable users access relevant information, but it will also make it easier for OLX team to detect fraudsters and other malicious activities in good time. Together with mobile number login requirement, OLX will launch the new OLX platforms to ensure that users are both secure and safe.
OLX Chat – Several online based businesses are already offering instant chat but mainly between customers and the support staff or customer care representatives. Immediate example is Safaricom that is always available through their selfcare portal to offer instant chat customer care services 24/7. But OLX wants to take do it a different way – it wants to allow buyers and sellers to interact within the web and App via instant chat messaging – and in this way, OLX will be just like another Facebook or WhatsApp messenger but for buyers and sellers and those who may masquerade as such. I can foresee thousands of new friendships being formed through this feature.
What you will need to do to enjoy the new OLX Experience
If you are one of the minority that primarily use OLX on the web, then all you have to do to start enjoying the new OLX Experience is – nothing but to wait. We anticipate that by mid this month or towards the end of the month the new easy to use web interface will go live. Anyway, you’ll just keep going to www.olx.co.ke to find out whether the website has gone live. In any case, we expect to be notified a few days before the exact launch date so keep it here to get the 411.
Majority of us access OLX services through their OLX App. If you are one of them, then you will have to do two things: 1. Wait for the new App to be available and 2. Download it as soon as it is available. The availability of the new OLX App should be at the time when the new web interface goes live, and so as a guide it will also be cool to keep tab of the OLX website. Also keep it here to be informed when the OLX App goes live.