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What Does Messaging Have to Do With User Focus? Insights Into the Large-Scale Project has been one of the most popular Swiss C2C classifieds platforms for many years. The market environment is very dynamic, which is why it is essential to listen to users and constantly improve the user experience in order to make buying and selling as easy as possible. A recent example of this is the decision to implement a messaging tool on the platform. In doing so, has started one of the largest projects in recent years.

The Trigger: Simple communication helps buying and selling

For, users define success. They come to the platform to buy/sell things as quickly and conveniently as possible. This also includes the way users contact each other in order to be able to agree on the most important things such as payment, handover or shipping of an object. Until now, contact was made by e-mail, but this could quickly become confusing when writing with several people. Therefore, better communication options was one of the more frequent user feedbacks - and the topic of messaging was quickly put on the agenda for

Build or Buy: How it all began and where it stands now

In August 2020, decided to meet the needs of its users. After the initial groundwork and analysis, it quickly became clear that it was a better solution for to build a messaging itself than to rely on an external provider. The decision to build the feature also meant putting a lot of resources into the project. From product, tech and operations to marketing, there was probably no one who didn't contribute to the messenger in the last 6 months.

The joint effort paid off: in October - barely three months later - the first basic Messenger was already available. For, however, it was clear that an early release with limited functions was out of the question: Because providing messaging is part of what a modern marketplace should offer. It is something that users of other platforms have become accustomed to and have high expectations of. Users should feel that the messaging tool and its features add value to their user experience right from the start, and not have to go back to the usual emails for single events (like sending pictures). This could make it more difficult to get them excited about the new feature and to convince them later to use an improved version of it.

Since April, the tool has been tested internally, improved and then made available to users with a staggered roll-out. Since 28. April, messaging is now available for all website users. App users will not have to wait much longer either, the messaging tool will follow in the next few weeks.

Challenges and Learnings

Any large project that changes the platform permanently (for the better) must of course be properly planned. Many different aspects have to be taken into account, which simplify the first launch and also take future updates into account to some extent.

  • Focus despite project size: With a project that lasts several months, it is easy to fall into the trap of not seeing the wood for the trees. It was therefore important for the team to record exactly what the first version of the Messenger had to contain and what not. Cool ideas could be put in the backlog for later, and it was easier to say "no" sometimes. This helped with prioritising so that the timeline could be kept.
  • Double is better: A change - even if positive - always means an adjustment of behaviour for the users. Therefore, the team decided to keep the current communication function via email. This hybrid approach made the project more complex but made it easier for users to get used to messaging. The developers were able to roll out the feature gradually, with the option to switch back to email at any time, in case of problems. This also allowed the team to sleep better at night.
  • Endurance: Over the 6 months of the project, many small things have accumulated that the team now has to fix or add. There was simply no time before. So the project will stay with them for a long time.

Messaging: For the users

With the new messaging feature, messages go directly through, where they are clearly stored and grouped. This means that users no longer have to constantly switch back and forth between the platform and their email inbox and can communicate more easily.

These are the functionalities of the messenger:

  • Sending text and image messages on the website (and soon also in the iOS and Android apps)
  • In the apps, users are informed via push notifications when they receive a new message.
  • In addition to the new direct messages on the platform, e-mail messages can still be sent
  • Users can see directly in the messaging tool when an ad is no longer available or a user is no longer active.
  • In addition, other users can be blocked for security reasons. hopes that messaging will help users to buy and sell things more successfully on the platform and to improve user satisfaction with the communication options. According to initial surveys, it is looking good: 3 out of 4 users are satisfied with the platform's own messaging tool.

We would like to thank Mathias Vettiger and the whole team for the insight into the project.

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