What’s happening Trade Me?

I was shocked to see first that Trade Me had appointed an advertising agency, and secondly at their TV campaign. I really can’t bear to watch it so I’ll not embed it.

Trade Me has always won by being more end-user centric and easy to use than any alternative, and it has become beloved by New Zealand. The issue is that they have run out of customers, and can only grow by increasing activity for existing customers, increasing prices for sellers or entering new categories and businesses.

Increasing customer activation through advertising may be an interesting experiment to run, but let’s not forget that Trade Me’s superior profitability versus eBay is not only through better usability, but also because they do not throw money away into advertising.

Meanwhile we all have our individual understanding of what Trade Me stands for. Like a poor movie following an excellent book, my understanding of what Trade Me is not at all reflected in that advertisement. I suspect many of the other members, staff and ex-staff feel similarly.

The advertisement makes me feel discombobulated, a little disconnected from what Trade Me stands for. The question is whether Trade Me is losing long term customer love at the expense of short term activation with this annoying ad.

The kicker, and catalyst for this post, is that it’s compounded by an event that I have not seen for years. Trade Me is currently down.

Update: Trade Me is back online and all auctions will be extended by 5 hours.

Published by Lance Wiggs


One reply on “What’s happening Trade Me?”

  1. In regards to that advertisement – What really surprised me is that their ‘New or Used’ campaign seems to trample down ‘used’ in order to promote ‘new’. Wouldn’t it be wiser to push the idea of “Hey, you can buy New AND Used items on Trade Me’?.

    If I were brainstorming ideas to promote new items, I would:
    – Allow an easy way to buy multiple items from one seller and combine shipping. We know a lot of the big sellers on Trade Me are selling new, imported items. Many of these are priced lower than the shipping cost and really aren’t worth big money to anyone – unless you can sell multiple.

    – Do more in the category and search results to display new items – maybe a separate view as is done with Gallery View. When it is used as a filter, this really emphasises the idea that you can only have Used OR New. If this existed, there could be space for richer meta data such as ‘brand’ or ‘model’ – really adding value for people looking for new items.

    There is a bit of a stigma that everything bought from Trade Me is used and it’s a bit dodgy to buy food/christmas presents/underwear, from there. I don’t think an expensive advertising campaign is going to solve that.

    On a funny note, check out the big promo banner on this page:
    Dogs: Do you prefer new or used?


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