A 20-year-old entrepreneur has launched an online sales app targeted at the new generation of online shoppers and integrated with social media.
Stephen Chapman, founder of the social selling app Facebuy, told StartupSmart the way Gen Y was selling and buying online has changed.
“This is a younger generation targeted tool because eBay has been around for a long time and my generation isn’t looking at eBay, that’s for our parents,” Chapman says.
He says the app focuses on fashion, concert tickets and textbooks first, as these are the items young people are selling online via Twitter and Facebook.
“We’ve created a centralised place to sell these items that feeds straight through Twitter and Facebook, so your friends can comment and promote it,” Chapman says.
Launched two weeks ago, the app has been downloaded over 500 times, has 300 registered users and 150 items have been uploaded.
“That conversion rate is pretty good. It’s definitely working and we can see potential,” Chapman says. “We’re focusing on a customer-reach model rather than revenue, while we’re still tweaking it.”
The app is free to download and users can also list their items for free. For each sale, Facebuy takes a $2 fee and 1.5% of the price plus 30c goes to PayPal.
Chapman says they’ll be focusing on recruiting eBay sellers in the next few weeks, especially those who have listed more than 400 items and have good customer feedback.
“We’re going to show them it’s a cheaper, quicker, younger and trendier way to sell online, that doesn’t carve their bottom line up,” he says, adding the idea was sparked by his frustration having the pay listing fees on eBay.
With a brand similar to Facebook and eBay as its main competitor, Chapman is staying focused on his point of difference.
“Yeah, the big giants always want to sue anyone to stop them starting up. I looked into it and I’ve trademarked the word Facebuy in Australian markets, and there was no issue,” Chapman says, adding it’s using the Facebook API (application programming interface), so Facebook knows it exist.
“But these big giants are faceless. They can’t have a personality or personal story attached to their brand like I can. We can be more agile and add new categories, and tweak as we go.”
Chapman says his focus is on developing the customer base in Australia, and seeking funding and mentoring to expand internationally.
“China and Hong Kong will be big for us. Maybe not them selling to each other, but a lot of power sellers on eBay of cheaper products come from there,” Chapman says.
Facebuy is also one of 250 entrants in the Million Pound Startup competition, which is run by London-based start-up incubator Digital Shoreditch.