Swapit Updated: Post & Share to 710,000 Facebook Group Members

Swapit just got updated with incredible sharing features.

Get the latest update from your favorite app store: http://get.swapit.la

2016-07-21_premium_584

Swapit has always had a tight integration into Facebook and now we’ve just lifted that to the next level. After posting an item for sale (or for free), you can easily share your item on Facebook. It only takes the flick of a button and your item will reach up to 710,000 people in various buy and sell Facebook groups.

Besides our loyal Swapit community of now 114,000 enthusiastic traders, we now increase your potential reach by 6-fold.

Of course, this feature is available to all of our users. This includes all of our great users who are on a free account right now, but also our Premium subscribers.

Have you tried Swapit yet? Get it from http://get.swapit.la/nowhttp://get.swapit.la/now

Hong Kong’s Unfair Advantage: How Pokémon Go helps Swapit – The Hyperlocal Marketplace

Screenshot_20160726-090257I admit, I am hooked to Pokémon Go. It launched yesterday in Hong Kong and some in the Swapit team went along and downloaded it. Personally, I really wanted to know what all the hype is all about. After all, I tried Ingress (from the same developer) and wasn’t particularly impressed by it. Yes, it looked nice and had some Augmented Reality (AR) components, but it just felt way too complex.

Pokémon Go on the other hand feels simple enough, so I can actually handle it. It’s not a game you have to play constantly, but it is one that pulls you back in and you want to play it constantly. You quickly feel that urge that you have to check if there’s a Pokémon nearby that you don’t have yet. It pulls you back into the app and I have utmost admiration for that. Creating such kind of addiction level for a game, is really hard to achieve.

Hyperlocal Awareness

Like Ingress, Pokémon Go is based around our real world. Items, monsters, Pokéstops, gyms are all placed at real locations. So you have to physically go there to get access to them. Only nearby Pokémon can be caught. So in the end, digital information that rests in your mobile device is being combined with your current physical location.

Perhaps that’s what it takes? Perhaps it takes a game like Pokémon Go, so people realize how important location is in our life. Through this game, people are sensibilized to the whole topic of location and what’s happening all around you. By playing Pokémon Go people become more and more aware of their surrounding and the place they are actually located in. It’s also a great way to teach you spatial understanding, which is something many people lack in.

Swapit Hyperlocal

Swapit has been built with the very same core idea of Pokémon Go or Ingress: Your location is at the heart of what you can do. When you post something for sale on Swapit, people nearby your location will receive an alert; i.e. potential buyers nearby will receive an alert. We connect buyers and sellers who are nearby each other right now.

This allows a trade to happen really quickly. People nearby can seamlessly communicate with each other and meet up within minutes to close a deal. That’s all made possible because they are closeby each other and Swapit connects them based on their locations.

Property is big business in Hong Kong and everyone in the property business knows:

It’s all about location, location, location!

That’s exactly what Pokémon Go is all about and that’s also what Swapit is all about.

Hong Kong’s Unfair Advantage

Hong Kong has an unfair advantage over most parts of the world.

Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities in the world.

In the case of Pokémon Go, our players here have the advantage that they don’t have to leave their comfy office chair to catch new Pokémon, collect some new balls, fruits, accessories or go to the gym. I’m referring to the Pokémon Go gym here 🙂 All of these are nearby and because we have so many people in close proximity to each other, they put a Lure there and Pokémons just come by for us to throw some balls at them.

Here are some impressions of Pokémon addicts in Hong Kong:

You can read more about that on the Pokémon Blog: Pokemon GO arrives in Hong Kong, and it looks like everyone there is already playing it

What happens after the Pokémon Hype?

That’s a very good question. Firstly, I assume this game will take a lot of screen time away from other games in Hong Kong. In the long run, though, I believe it’s location aware aspects will educate people. It will make them more aware of the possibilities of using your location to your advantage. It will make them understand how powerful location and information combined in a smart way, can be.

Have you tried Swapit yet? Get it here: http://get.swapit.la

 

Photos of Pokémon Go players in Hong Kong by Nash Jenkins.

Swapit Updated with Redesigned Inbox

swapit-blog_android-1We’ve just updated Swapit on Google Play with some very nice new features. The iPhone app will be updated by the end of this week.

GET THE SWAPIT UPDATE NOW:
http://get.swapit.la/now

Some of the main changes in our latest update are:

swapit_screenshots_1.0.0.92_1_inbox_private-chatsREDESIGNED INBOX Simplified and yet more powerful.
We’ve been collecting a lot of feedback and one topic that always came up was our inbox. While we wanted to provide as much information as possible to all of you, all that information was quite cluttered across many different tabs inside the inbox. It made total sense to us, but there are many users who were a bit confused by this. 

We don’t like to reinvent the wheel for things where really smart people have thought a lot about. So we’ve taken a look at a lot of “inboxes” out there to see which approach will be the best solution. Facebook’s “inbox” in terms of separating “Messages” and “Notifications” seemed to be an approach that made a lot of sense.

So we went forward and re-designed our own inbox accordingly into: Private Chats and Notifications. On the right you can see a screen shot of that and we believe it is now much more clear that chats inside Swapit are actually private. In matter of fact, there was some confusion about that out there as well. So by simply calling it “Private Chats” instead of just “Chats”, we believe it’s much straight forward to understand the meaning.

The content of each message in the list has also been slightly polished to make it look more like our notification tab.

swapit_screenshots_1.0.0.92_2_inbox_notificationsALL NOTIFICATIONS At a glance.
Swapit communicates with you a lot through notifications. They usually come into your Notification Hub on Android and your Notification Center on iPhone first, where you can take direct action. At the same time, we keep track of all notifications you’ve received in Swapit’s inbox and particularly in the “Notifications” tab there. 

Previously, we had several tabs for notifications: buy interests, comments, new items. That was confusing and cluttered up the whole area there. At the same time, we didn’t show other notifications like “likes” when someone likes an item you’re liking too.

That’s now all combined into one simple yet very powerful “Notifications” tab. It collects all push messages you receive and provides a one-stop-shop to come back to, should you want to check out some older notifications too.

Previously, some notifications could be swiped away in the Notifications Hub/Center and they were gone forever. There was no way to get back to them. That is in the past now, and you’ll find all your notifications in our “Notifications” tab.

swapit_marketing-messagingBULLETINS Keep you up to date.
We’ve now also integrated a way to reach out to you when we have some important news about Swapit. Say for example, we have some super cool new feature we’d like you try or we are again giving something away for free, then we can now let you know directly.

iPhone APP SELL
While this is not a new feature per-se, we believe not enough people know about this. So please spread the word and tell your friends that Swapit is now available for their iPhone too. 

swapit-ios_screenshots_1.0.10_1_collage

It’s as simple on iPhone as it is on Android to post your items for sale. Give it a try today.

Have you tried Swapit yet? Get the latest Swapit today from: http://get.swapit.la/now

iOS Users stay 4x longer in Swapit than Android Users

We recently updated Swapit for iOS with the feature to sell items through your iPhone. We’ve also updated our Android app too. In fact, we are constantly updating Swapit with workflow improvements, new features to make the live of our users better.

Now, we are also constantly looking at how our users use Swapit. A while ago I mentioned we are using Crashlytics for in-app analytics. After having the iPhone app on the App Store for a while and the Android app on Google Play for about a year, it is time to compare the two. Though, the number of Android users still exceeds by far the number of iPhone users, we have enough to do a meaningful comparison.

Retention Retention Retention

swapit_marketing-chart-growFor everyone, it is hard to acquire users. We are no exception to that. However, it is also hard – if not even harder – to retain them. We believe by providing a great platform from the onset and adding more and more value (i.e. through our constant app updates), we can retain our loyal users.

One metric we like to look at, is Session Length. Session Length means, how long are people in our app and for how long are they using it at each session. I.e. how long is each session in minutes and seconds. That’s rather easy to track, but at the time it’s an important indicator – especially for marketplace apps, like Swapit. If we have enough marketplace liquidity and the content in our marketplace (i.e. the items posted) are of interest to our users, then we can achieve a high session length. Interestingly, Android and iPhone users have a rather different usage pattern.

iPhone users stay 4x longer in Swapit than Android users.

To put that into numbers, yesterday on July 7th, 2016, the Median Session Lengths were:

  • Android: 29 seconds
  • iOS: 1 minute 54 seconds

Even when we’re looking at the whole period of the last 30 days, we can see that those numbers are pretty stable across each platform:

Android Session Length:

2016-07-08_android-session-lengths

iOS Session Length:

2016-07-08_ios-session-lengths

We can even see a little uplift on Android over the past two weeks. I believe our core fan base on iOS are the first ones to use our iPhone app right away. I am talking about the great folks who signed up for the iOS beta even before it launched. Those are our most loyal users and they have much stronger relationship with Swapit, which in turn results in longer usage time. At the same time, on iOS we have a lot more of those in terms of overall percentage compared to Android. So therefore, I am assuming that has partly an effect on the higher session length. However, a 4x higher session length is a rather significant number.

swapit-blog-immediacyGlobal Comparison

Besides Crashlytics, we also use Flurry for in-app analytics. In there, we can also compare Swapit to the industry’s benchmark. With 30 seconds of median session length for “Shopping” apps worldwide, Swapit hits exactly the benchmark on Android. On iOS however, Swapit seems to beat the benchmark significantly.

Nature of Swapit Sessions

swapit_marketing-messagingIf you look at traditional shopping apps like eBay, Amazon, Lazada, etc. you will notice that they’re structured differently. They are B2C apps where you go into the app, search what you want, if you find it, you add it to your shopping cart, go to check out, enter your shipping address, check the price and shipping costs again, enter your credit card number and finally confirm the order.

On Swapit, though, the whole experience is different and much more engaging. Let’s say you find this beautiful Armlet and want to buy it from Julia, you’d hit “Chat to buy” and you’re ready to chat with her. You send a message and perhaps leave Swapit. Your session has ended. You leave the app and crush some candy. 20 seconds later Julia replies (she is usually super fast, I can definitely recommend her!), you receive a notification in your Notification Hub (Android) / Notification Center (iOS) and you go back into the app to confirm you’ll meet up with Julia and close the deal.  Thus, you just had a quick short session to send your message. So actually, some of Swapit’s sessions are much shorter due to the nature of the app with built-in chat. That kind of user behavior is not expected with the eBay, Amazon, Lazada kind of apps. Therefore, I am actually surprised we can even hit the shopping industry benchmark on Android.

The Future of Swapit Retention

Is bright 🙂

In fact, we are right working on putting more features in place that allows us to even increase our retention metrics and add more value to our users. There are of course, many other metrics we are looking at and they all have their individual purpose and meaning. It would take a little while to list them all here, but I am sure, I will share some more retention stats in future — especially with all great secret sauce we are currently brewing at the Swapit HQ.

Stay tuned for the next Swapit update. It might actually surprise you!

Have you tried Swapit yet? You can download it at: http://get.swapit.la/now

Swapit Update: Sell with your iPhone (second hand and new)

swapit-blog_appleAfter launching our very first version of Swapit on the Apple App Store a while ago, and numerous updates and feature launches in between, today we launched the most wanted Swapit feature on iPhone: You can now Sell your items whether they’re new or pre-loved, you decide.

GET THE SWAPIT UPDATE NOW:
http://get.swapit.la/now

We’ve been working hard to get this feature out as quickly as possible. Sometimes it just takes a little longer than expected. In this particular release it’s not just about allowing people to post items for sale. You also need to be able to edit an item, take it offline, mark it as sold, manage your buyers and so on. There are all these little bits and pieces that take user experience to the next level and we are meticulously working on making them available to you in just the best way we can imagine.

swapit-ios_screenshots_1.0.10_1_collage

In fact, this update comes with over 30 changes. Here is a quick list of some of the most important changes:

  • Added SELL and GIVE AWAY of items (incl. edit, mark sold, active/inactive)
  • Added push notification handling for
    • incoming interested buyers of your items
    • reminder for posted items you sell or give away
    • new likes on items
    • new comments on items
  • Added “Notifications” section to the Inbox
  • Resolved an issue with “Open Chat” button in item details

Furthermore, we’ve put in some important performance enhancements and resolved several other minor bugs and issues.

IMPORTANT NOTICE to iPhone Users: Do Not Kill!

Swapit uses push notifications to deliver chat messages and notifications to your device. If you force-close Swapit you will not receive any such notifications until you restart Swapit or your device. We recommend not to force-close Swapit.

84% of iPhone users we asked, are force-closing their apps. That’s a surprise to me — especially as it does NOT save any battery, like it used to many years ago. So if you’re one of those 84%, you’re not making a difference in terms of battery savings by force-closing your apps, but some of those apps might actually stop receiving push notifications then. That’s also the case for Swapit. It’s nothing we can do about, it’s a special case defined by iOS and we have to abide by that. In short, force-closing apps just makes your phone’s performance worse rather than better – generally speaking.

Read more about this topic at: Apple’s software SVP says quitting multitasking apps not necessary, won’t offer improved battery life

 

ANDROID USERS

swapit-blog_android-1Your app has been updated too, earlier this week. You can head directly to Google Play and get the latest update too. Though, our changes weren’t as significant as on the iPhone, we’re always looking out for you and you got quite some nifty little tweaks and enhancements under-the-hood with the latest update.

Get the latest Swapit today from: http://get.swapit.la/now

 

iPhone Users: Do you kill apps?

Hey iPhone users, we have a very simple and quick question:

 

Why we ask

We are currently working on iPhone app and we’ve noticed some issues regarding to PUSH notifications that are sent to apps which have been killed by the user manually. Therefore, we’d like to find out how many of you are actually killing your apps manually. Your feedback will have direct impact on how we integrate our PUSH notification mechanism in Swapit on the iPhone and iPad.

 

Have you tried Swapit yet? It’s free. You can get it from http://get.swapit.la

Watch Swapit at the Participants’ Sharing Session of the Asia Smartphone Apps Contest

The Asia Smartphone Apps Contest local participants will be invited to participate in the Participants’ Sharing Session, meeting with industry players, SMEs and stakeholders to promote effective dialogue between potential partners, encouraging business collaboration and partnership among the participants, and across different Asian regions.

swapit-blog_asia-smartphone-apps-contestWe’ve been invited to this sharing session to share our views on the field of Advertising & Marketing, in which Swapit is participating in the Asia Smartphone Apps Contest 2016. This sharing is free and will be held at the Yahoo Townhall in Lee Gardens on 25 May 2016 (11:30 – 13:30). You can sign up here if you’d like to join.

Have you tried Swapit yet? You can get it at: http://get.swapit.la

Sprinting to Swapit for iPhone and iPad

As you might remember, we’ve started our race for launching on iOS in the middle of February by hiring Vito for that very task. It took us a couple of weeks to get up to speed and build the core foundation of Swapit on the iOS platform.

As you also might remember from my blog post over a year ago about Choosing a Platform for Swapit,  we’ve been building our backend infrastructure on top of the Google Cloud Platform. The great thing about that is, we are building Swapit for massive scale from the ground-up. Our current growth rate of 100% month-over-month over the past 2 quarters, we have so far seen zero impact on the performance of our backend platform. At the same time, out Total Cost of Ownership remain very low as well. So that was an outstanding choice of platform.

Going, Running, Sprinting to iOS

swapit-blog_leapNow, one of Swapit’s major road blocks to world domination is our missing presence on the iPhone. It’s not the only road block, but it’s a major one. When we raised our funding in December and again raised in February, one of the milestones we have attached to that funding was to bring Swapit to the iPhone and iPad as quickly as possible.

Just an hour ago, I submitted the Swapit beta 1.2 for iOS to Apple’s TestFlight. That is actually our 3rd beta, which we are testing with a very small group of testers right now. With each beta, we are increasing the number of beta testers for Swapit. In fact, we are building sprints every week that are being released to our beta testers. We a somewhat much leaner version of how sprints are defined in Scrum. Our goal is, to ship a new beta release each week, which we have been doing for the past 3 weeks already.

It is very challenging for developers to be able to deliver a working product release every week. Our team is doing their best to hold the schedule. It’s hard work, but it is definitely worth it! Having a working release of the whole app at pretty much any time during the development process, offers so many upsides: launching every week keeps our beta testers happy, they know we’re progressing and moving fast forward. At any time, we can fix a serious issue might arise in a release, which was launched a couple of days ago. So in the worst case scenario, users need to wait only a very short while to get their app fixed. At the same time, these rapid release cycles force us internally, to define small enough feature tasks that are doable within a day or two or at most a week.

Sprinting Around Corners and Cutting Short to Make the Goal

At the same time, we need to always keep our weekly release goal in mind. Even though, we might define small enough features and tasks to be completed within a week, sometimes some tasks and features suddenly turn up to be much more complex than anticipated. Therefore, we adjust the set of features and tasks for the next release in a very flexible way.

THE #1 GOAL IS TO SHIP!

There can only be one most important goal for any software / product development or basically any business related team, and that is to bloody ship your product. If you have the greatest product and never ship, who cares what it is? No one will ever use it, never ever will you be able to build a business out of that product. Almost everyone can build a product, some people might be able to finally ship and even fewer might be able to build a profitable business out of that.

We at Swapit believe, with a lot of passion and a lot more of hard work, we will be able to see it through and keep growing Swapit to a revenue generating business with very attractive profit margins.

IMG_20160325_0946483

At The Swapit Office: Get A Fresh Free Coffee And Remember What Is Really Important!
The Sign Reads: “TO SHIP is the most important feature!”

Swapit on iOS so far

Our Swapit beta 1.2 release is the most feature rich release we’ve launched so far. It is now already possible to view all items nearby, view item details (incl. pictures in gallery, price, category, condition, viewing statistics, locations, title, description, likes, comments), share items, report items, search items, show featured and highlighted items. All items in the list also sport all the information you need: image, price, distance, name, seller’s photo, likes and category.

Next week’s release will definitely sport some more features in Swapit on iOS. We’re constantly increasing the number of our beta testers for iOS. For those, who have left their contact details and haven’t received a download link yet: We will get to you very soon. We’ve got quite a number of people interested and we’re on-boarding new beta testers FIFO style. So please stay tuned. You’ll hear from us very soon!

Got an iPhone and want to check out Swapit?
Put your name on the Swapit for iOS beta list!

 

swapit-team_mugshot_patrickAbout the Author
Patrick is the Co-Founder and CEO of Swapit Limited. He has over 11 years experience in mobile and business in Asia through various ventures across very different domains. You can find our more about Patrick and the Swapit team at: http://www.swapit.la/#team

Swapit is Featured as Recommended App on Google Play

swapit-google-play-featured_new-updatedSince last Friday Swapit has been featured in the “New and Updated Apps” category on Google Play. It is absolutely great to see Swapit in there, getting some recognition and coverage in our local home market.

Google Play has been a great app store for us so far. We’ve been able to push out new updates quickly. While we only announce larger app updates here on our blog, we did actually publish over 30 app binaries on Google Play over the past year. That’s almost one app update every one and half weeks on average! Many of those updates are based on our user’s feedback — especially when we introduce new product features which require refinement after wards. Being able to launch app updates and new innovative features quickly, is essential for us to being at the vanguard of innovation.

We are currently working on a new update of Swapit and will launch it very soon, actually. If you want to check out the current list of all recommended apps on Google Play, you can go to: https://play.google.com/store/recommended
(only when opening that link in Hong Kong, you’ll see Swapit in that list)

At this point, I’d like to personally thank the Google developer relations and Google Play team who helped us a lot with their feedback on Swapit. Because of their honest feedback, we were able to identify crucial points for improvement on Swapit in terms of Material Design principles as well as user experience / onboarding workflow. We know Swapit is still not perfect, but we are on a very good track on getting there. Thanks a lot! We do very much appreciate your help.

Do you use Swapit it? You can download it right here: http://get.swapit.la

Creating the swapit design language – colors, icons, fonts are very important

In mid-December 2014 we started actively working on swapit while the idea and concept of swapit has been floating around our heads since the mid of 2014. Today, I’d like to talk a little bit about how we approached the design, style and appearance of swapit.

We at S4BB Limited have been building thousands of apps for over a decade now. Our sister company Skylab Mobilesystems Limited with her Sky Drone project is actively working on a hardware product. We value the importance of style and what it says about our product.

1. Color

swapit-blog_color-codeAt the beginning there was the choice of color or more precisely color-scheme that we had to make a decision on. To be honest, with most of our other apps I give our design folks a rough idea and they usually come up with something amazing. This time, though, I read a lot about color schemes and for which products and services to choose which color. I took about 2 full days just to read up on choosing the right color in dozens of articles by app designers, psychologists, marketing people, industrial and product designers.

While it is pretty obvious to most people that the right color should be the one potential customers / users would associate your product or service, the less obvious recommendation by some authors was to choose a color that creates a certain (=desired) emotion when looking at it, in combination with the product’s name and presentation.

Many buy and sell apps use red for example, as their main color scheme. That makes sense, because red is commonly associated with “promotions” / “money saving” and generally is an ‘alarming’ color. Amongst others, there were two main reasons why I thought red would not be the right choice of color for swapit:

  1. Red as an ‘alarm’ has a bit of a negative touch to it.
  2. Some of our competitors use it and we need to shout out: “We’re different!”

Another important take away from the many articles and research papers I read was: “Choosing the color for a product should be a business decision.”
It should not left to the designer who will usually choose the color that looks best from a design-perspective, but the designer does not look beyond design at the actual target audience and the desired reaction that audience should experience when using a product.

The next best color that is somewhat related to retail, buying / selling and low prices is the color green. At the same time, green fits very well to swapit because we are not just about buying and selling items — swapit is called swapit because it is also built for swapping items or even giving them away for free. We believe this can help reduce unnecessary waste and swapit can – in its very own unique way – contribute to a greener and more environmentally friendly society.

The emotional response the swapit color-scheme green is supposed to create with our users could be summarized as: “environmentally friendly low cost trading of pre-loved items”.

2. App Icon

After the color was locked down, we went on working on the app icon of swapit. We were looking for an icon that

  1. Can be created with a single color (green);
  2. Shouts out LOCATION to communicate the location-reference at our core;
  3. Resembles the S of swapit or somehow the trading / buying / selling character;
  4. Is simple enough with some deeper complex meaning;
  5. Looks good even if the icon is small on low-res devices.

There were quite some hand-drawn designs. Here is a quick selection of those:

IMG_20150225_150047_edit

Besides hand-drawn designs the first Illustrator-designed icon drafts looked like this:

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 3.45.04 pm

Then we went on and put some color on our favorite variation of it:

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 4.44.40 pmFinally, we launched the first beta of swapit with our first beta app icon that looked like this:

swapit_icon_192

For our beta 2 of swapit we changed the icon a little bit by just putting it on a squircle. So the latest version of our app icon looks like this:

swapit_icon_192

3. The swapit Text

Finally, we had to work on the actual swapit text that we would use in places like the header of this blog, our website, the app’s main screen header and other places. We played around with different styles, combinations of fonts, etc. It is important to us to slightly separate “swapit” into “swap” and “it” somehow the person who reads the term to quickly see that there are two parts to that one word. At the same time, the one term needs to look like it comes from the same design and it speaks the same design language.

These were some early drafts we created once we settled on a rough concept of the app icon:

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 11.36.50 am

Later on we played around with some coloring options to see how different colors blend into each other. As our main theme color is green, we experimented with some highlight colors to see how such colors can stand out.

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 1.00.09 pm4. Splash Screen

Every app needs to have splash screen – especially when the app is doing some housekeeping work at startup, like swapit does. So we needed to have one as well and after we settled on the name, color, app icon and text, we drafted some splash screens to see how different color combinations look like next to each other. Here is one comparison we looked at:

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 3.17.29 pm

Like you can see, we played a bit with gradients as well. In the end, we decided to go without gradients and give our app a bit more of a flat look.

The Current (and Future) State of Swapit

Based on all the design work we have done so far, swapit currently looks like this:

screenshot-splashscreen_with-galaxy-a3screenshot-grid_with-galaxy-a3

So what ever your product is or should be, it is very important for you to choose the right color, style and design language. If you want to communicate a certain message to your users, you need to look at this, work on it and keep improving on it. The way swapit looks like right now, is not the final look. It is just the look we came up with so far.

Absolutely nothing is set in stone and we are always open to change. Based on the great feedback of our beta testers, we already received great input into our design approach and the next beta 3 will look different already. We’ve received many suggestions of what we can improve and especially how we can improve it to make swapit the right app for our target audience.

Have you signed up for the invite-only beta of swapit yet? If not, request an invite at: http://swapit.la