Right now, Wellesley students regularly post items for sale on our Free & For Sale Facebook group. The majority of these items are clothes and household goods that, if not sold, are thrown away. Due to the disorganization of the page, which makes it hard to connect buyers and sellers, and the difficulty in completing transactions, this waste happens frequently. This presents a huge problem for sustainability on our campus and an opportunity to decrease wasteful behavior and increase the life and utility of these goods.
As a secondary concern, students who want to find certain goods or services within their community have to search through tons of Free & For Sale ad hoc posts or simply know the right people. This is prohibitive to local business and easy accessibility for many people. In a community with lots of talented students, there is an opportunity to connect and organize these skills/goods with customers.
Our users are Wellesley College students (young adults ages approx. 18-22). As college students, they have busy lifestyles and a tight budget. They are familiar with technology, and most carry around their own laptops and smartphones.
Users will use the app within the college community. The majority of transactions will take place on campus during the school year. However, the app may still facilitate transactions for students when off campus.
Users will be asked to create a seller profile upon opening the app, though this does not mean they must become an active seller. Having a profile will enable users to search for, interact with, and ultimately message sellers of the item of interest. Users who are interested in selling will be able to upload their items individually with the name, photos, price, and descriptions which will all be updated unto their own shop profiles and added automatically to the market. Seller profiles will look like a social profile with their profile photo, location on campus, and a short blurb about them. Users who are interested in buying will be able to search through multiple categories (like “Clothing,” “School Supplies,” and “Photography”) and view their items of interest. We hope that having specific categories will expedite and assist the buyer’s search. There will also be the ability to “Save Items for Later” by pressing a heart button below an item. To complete a transaction, the user must message the seller by clicking on the message button below the item and express interest.
We want to integrate a badge system that is in relation to how many sales you have made as a user of the app. For example, if a seller has made 5 sales they receive a bronze badge on their profile, 10+ sales a silver badge, 20+ sales a gold badge, and so on. A higher badge will increase the seller’s reliability and reputation, which we hope, will also increase their sales and encourage more transactions to be made. Upon completing a transaction, buyers can also rate their satisfaction of their item by leaving a star review and the average of stars received will show up on Seller’s profile.
A mobile user interface is ideal because all of our users our college students, who spend a lot of time on the go and on their mobile devices. Having the ability to make transactions on a mobile device will make it more accessible to those not carrying their laptops around that day, and wherever they are on campus. Also if there is ever an urgent need for a certain item, there will be no need to spend time to walk to the local store, rather the ability to quickly buy and attain the item with one’s mobile device.
Major apps like Amazon, Etsy, Poshmark, and Ebay have similar functions of helping users sell and buy items. However, our focus in our app is to bring this ability and organization internally to communities, such as Wellesley. We believe this is important for fostering local business, maintaining trust between sellers and buyers, and helping communities live sustainably. Our app is meant to be used in a specific area (like Wellesley’s campus) and among a set group of people.
Amazon organizes their products in a very organized and user-friendly interface. They include lots of information about each product. They highlight products with large images, so users can see what they’re purchasing, and they help market their products by including “trending” and “new” categories. Although our projects differ in that their target audience is much larger and they sell commercial products, we want to emulate this simple and easily-navigable design.
Etsy provides a platform for artistic and skilled people to create business out of their passions. Similarly, we want to do this for Wellesley students, as many students have skills in diverse areas. In our app, we want to have categories for products Wellesley students make and services like photography and design. Something Etsy does really well is highlight the creators on their site by providing information about the sellers. They include ratings so customers can make informed purchases, and they are very transparent with capabilities and options around products. To accomplish our goal of doing some of what Etsy does for Wellesley students, we also want to have really helpful, informative user profiles and rating systems.
Additionally, while we do have a Wellesley Facebook Free & For Sale group, our app aims to make the process easier and more accessible to better accomplish the similar goals.
We did not find any similar projects on the ACM Digital Library.