Shopify’s New Mobile App is Like Instagram for Classified Ads

Shopify — known for helping small businesses create e-commerce websites — has launched a new mobile app called Sello that joins a crowded field of peer-to-peer commerce efforts. Sello resembles Instagram and provides easy-to-use functionality for individuals and small businesses to sell products online. It is free to list items, but the Sello app collects a 3 percent fee for each transaction. Sellers simply post a product photo and description, list payment and shipping options, and specify a choice of social platforms, such as Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.

The value of Sello is its simple, stripped down approach. “Sellers don’t have to worry about listing fees, auction strategies, bucketing their wares into the proper category and subcategory, or weeding out nefarious buyers,” reports Bloomberg. “They don’t even have to worry about being rated by would-be buyers.”

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“For someone who has never sold before, there are a lot of barriers to entry,” said Christopher Lobay, director of product for Shopify. “We wanted to remove those.”

“Historically, liquidation channels have existed for the highest-ticket items, things like houses and cars,” said First Round Capital partner Josh Kopelman. “What you’re seeing now is companies enabling people to recapture value for stuff that they never could before. It’s a major trend.”

The downsides to Sello, suggests Bloomberg, involve no effective mechanisms for search, browsing or discovery. Another pitfall may prove to be competition as a flood of resale startups have recently emerged.

Jordan Sweetnam is eBay’s VP of seller experience, and is involved with the company’s Valet service that encourages users to lean on professionals for the listing and selling of their used goods.

Sweetnam “estimates that the potential market is $100 billion, roughly the size of Amazon.com,” notes Bloomberg. “That’s 12 figures’ worth of crafts and used clothes, dusty LPs, and old appliances. A recent shipment to eBay’s Valet service included a mint-condition He-Man doll from 1984.”