The current landscape
In 2018, we’re no strangers to buy and sell applications and platforms like Craigslist, Ebay, Kijiji, Carousell, Letgo etc. We’re also quite familiar with the pitfalls these platforms come with.
Let’s face it, although most transactions work out the way they’re intended to if you do your due diligence, sometimes even the best of us get sent on a wild goose chase. Chances are you know someone who has been stood up, bought a product that didn’t match the description, had a creepy meetup encounter, or god forbid…..been straight up scammed.
The worst of it is documented in these following cases (both occurring in 2017):
“Safety experts warn about the potential dangers of buying and selling through apps”
- abcNEWS (full article linked below)
“Over 800 fall victim to scams on Carousell”
- The Straits Times (full article linked below)
As the headlines suggest, both articles detail how buyers have been scammed by sellers over these apps, and even meetup horror stories where robberies and attacks were committed. The problem is, both articles put the onus completely on the buyer to keep themselves safe in these sketchy situations. Not that we’re shouting “victim blaming” here, but sometimes there’s just nothing you can do. While there’s definitely steps buyers should take to protect themselves, apps and providers can and should do way more to protect their users. Contrary to this, you’ll find most apps trying to rid themselves of any responsibility.
Here’s the deal. It’s 2018. We have cars that drive themselves. We should be getting better at this stuff. And to be fair, we are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. In recent years, we’re finally starting to see some modernized versions of these apps pop up that attempt to address some of the innate issues that they come with; By inheriting RISK.
Peer to peer apps Mercari and Gone offer shipping as a way to bypass the whole meetup process to save both parties the time and hassle. Before you go opening up that app store, it’s probably worth noting that both these companies operate solely in the States.
But don’t fret fellow Canadians. Allow us to introduce an app called Urbanity.
What is Urbanity?
Dissatisfied with the lack of options out in the marketplace, Urbanity creator Seunghwan Son decided to develop an app that would tackle all the issues mentioned above.
Like some of its counterparts, Urbanity is a mobile marketplace for everyone to trade their goods. The main difference is that it gives control back to the user. Making its initial launch in Vancouver, Canada, Urbanity features the best UI/UX in the market (we’ve made sure of that), cashless transaction, and meeting-less transaction enabled through drop-off/pickup location and mailing.
Unlike most other selling and buying applications on the market, Urbanity actually oversees all transactions that are processed through the platform. Instead of acting as “just a venue for the transaction” Urbanity plays an active role in facilitating the purchase process, acting as a mediator between buyer and seller. When a buyer makes an offer on a listing, Urbanity puts the funds in holding, only releasing it when the buyer confirms that they’ve received the package.
The features in Urbanity were strategically implemented to give both the buyer and seller back control through the entire transaction process. These include:
-User identification through google or facebook for added security
-Secure drop-off and pick-up location and shipping
-Buyer & seller protection with cashless transactions through the Urbanity secure payment process
-Greater visibility with on-route package tracking
-Smooth UX/UI interface including support of video uploads for easy browsing
-Buyer & seller communication through an instant messaging feature
-Official bidding and negotiation process built into the instant messaging feature
-User ratings and reviews to help indicate how trustworthy a source is
-User reporting on posts that are inappropriate
In Son’s own words:
“Urbanity believes the marketplace has been stagnant for decades with demands from users largely ignored. The low safety and efficiency level may have been inevitable in the 90s’ due to technical and network infrastructure limitation. However, with the level of technologies and network infrastructure available in 2018, this should no longer be the case.”
For the avid shoppers out there who value security and trust, Urbanity is a breath of fresh air. It aims to fill the gap in the buy and sell space that has existed for so long, and gives us the conveniences afforded to other countries who are well ahead of us. Urbanity is a buy and sell app that brings us back to the year 2018.