So you want to start selling on OLX India? Great. But are you wondering how to sell more frequently, get more interested buyers and if OLX ads are worth spending ? In this article we will show you how to sell on OLX, and everything about it..
OLX has been a household name in India since 2008-2009. It is one of the biggest sites where people can post free online ads to sell services and items-from motorcycles to t-shirts. Job listing and real estate ads are also very common on the platform.
But OLX is best known for being a pre-owned household item marketplace. Every day this platform receives millions of advertisements.
But how can you sell on OLX India? Is it a good choice to sell your goods on OLX as a business owner? Are OLX ads any good?
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about selling on OLX.
Let’s jump in.
The Business Model of OLX
If you are reading this article, you probably know that OLX falls under the classified website category. It is basically a web platform that connects buyers and sellers. Both parties start by creating an account. Sellers proceed to create advertisements. Buyers, on the other hand, browse through those advertisements before purchasing.
It’s on OLX to ensure the platform receives a massive amount of consistent traffic. Their main sources of traffic are online paid ads and TV advertisements. And OLX does a damn good job at acquiring the traffic. The organic traffic at OLX India jumped 40% higher in 2019 than in previous years. According to the CEO ( of OLX India) they had 50 million active users spreading across over 4000 cities all over the country.
However, OLX doesn’t follow other major classified sites when it comes to making money. A massive amount of revenue comes through Google ads monetization. The company works with partners who in turn work with Google to act as ad suppliers and ad mediators.
What does it all mean for you? Well, simply put, you don’t have to pay anything to sell on OLX. You get to keep whatever profit you make.
However, there are native ads on OLX and the platform actively encourages paid ads. Once you boost your ad, it gets more reach and views. If you are thinking about doing a business or selling stuff on a regular basis, you have to go for paid ads.
How To Sell On OLX
It all starts with listing your ad on OLX. Here is how to post your first OLX ad:
Posting ads on OLX is easy. Once you finish signing up and set your location, look for the button “SELL” at the bottom of your phone screen.
- Click on the “SELL” to find the list of the categories. OLX insists you get this right. Once you publish your ad, you can’t change the category.
- Once you select the category, clearly mention the brand, write a compelling headline and a solid product description. Ideally, you want to think of a strong value proposition before writing the description. Is your product fully functional? Is it still under manufacturer guarantee? Does it have any emotional significance? You want to highlight the good things. At the same time, deceptive product description is a big no-no. Don’t promise anything that you can’t deliver.
- Click a clear photo of your item. Get it clicked in a well-lit area and from a flattering angle. Well-performing ads tend to have 4-6 images attached. However, 2-3 crystal clear pictures are usually enough.
- Next comes the pricing. Set a reasonable price. OLX has strict guidelines on pricing. A too low or too high price can get your advertisement rejected.
- Once you post the pricing, just review your location and publish it.
There is a catch though.
OLX India allows you only a fixed number of ads per category. And to be honest, those numbers aren’t enough. For example, you can post only one mobile phone ad per month. If you have furniture to sell, you will have 2 free ads ( 60 days renewal).
Feel free to visit the OLX India help centre for more info.
There is a way to fix this, albeit a paid one. You can buy ad packages based on your item category. When you need more ads, just pick the plan that you feel is right. Once purchased, the limit on the number of ads would be a lot more reasonable.
Once your ad is live you will get queries from interested potential buyers. You can chat with them on OLX or contact/call them directly.
Please note, no transaction happens on the OLX platform itself. OLX just connects both sellers and buyers. Afterwards, any transaction is the responsibility of both parties. This policy has some advantages and some downsides. More on that later.
How To Get More Buyers on OLX
Think of OLX as an online bazaar where people want to bargain before buying. Your odds of getting a decent price go up when you have more potential buyers.
Writing a solid headline and a product description is your first step. As stated above, think about your USP before writing. Highlight all the good things about your item but don’t hide the flaws either. You want to walk the fine here. Clear pictures are crucial too.
However, to thrive on a platform like OLX that actively promotes paid advertisement, you can’t afford to ignore the native paid advertisement. These are the quickest and most effective ways to get more eyeballs.
There are a few types of OLX paid ads.
Feature Ads: When you activate feature ads , your ads show up with a “featured” tag in the top position for your targeted keyword related to your item. According to OLX, with a 30 day plan, you can reach up to 10 times more than free ads. With a 7 day package , you still enjoy 4 times more views.
Boost To Top Ads: When you publish an ad on OLX , it ranks quite high for a short period. As days pass, the OLX algorithm soon replaces it with fresh, newer ads. The lower your ad goes, the fewer buyers actually see it. Solution? Boost to top ads. Once boosted it instantly treats your ad as a fresh one and rank higher. You can reach up to 2 times more buyers.
Apart from these two, you can increase your ad limits. Please check the previous section of this article to find more on that.
You can check the plans from your OLX application.
Just to “My ads” and select the ad you want to promote. Then click on the option “Sell faster”. You will find a list of packages you can pick from. All major credit cards, debit cards , Net banking , UPI- the most common forms of online payment in India are acceptable.
Please note, the ad packages are dependent on item category and location. The offer you get in a specific location, may not exist in other locations. Once boosted, there is no way to change ad content or the location.
What To Do If Your Ad Gets Rejected
Usually, it doesn’t take much to get your ads approved. However, in some cases, OLX can reject your ad. It can get frustrating.
OLX listed some situations where you might run into rejection. To save you from unnecessary headaches, here is a brief discussion:
There are some products OLX don’t allow you to sell for ethical and business reasons. Some of these include college admission forms, burglary tools, escort services, firecrackers, human organs etc. You want to take a look at their banned item list before posting.
Self-interest propels OLX to zealously protect buyers and offer a pleasant buying experience. Keeping an eye on the pricing of the listed products is a part of their job. OLX insists that the price of your item should match the product category and condition of your product.
Misleading titles, profanities , special characters and phone numbers in the title are some surefire ways to get rejected.
Your item description must include functionality, condition of your product, color, dimension and other relevant info. Any hint of hate speech, religious biases, offensive words or phone number ( other than the registered one) is enough to get your ad rejected.
If your ad title, images or description closely match with any other ads posted in your city, it will not pass through. Did you yourself post a similar ad within 30 days? You can’t post the new one.
Invalid and inappropriate images are another major no-no. For the starter, you must post images of your item , not of a similar but different product. Also, steer clear of low-resolution images. Stock images, images with phone numbers, and obscene pictures are not allowed either.
Problems With OLX Business Model
If you want to get rid of one or two old items, OLX is a great option. It’s reliable. It doesn’t charge based on the sales. You can sell some items without any paid ads.
There are many businesses on OLX that sell brand new items. At a first glance, it might seem OLX is working for them. It’s tempting to join the bandwagon, right?
However, upon close inspection, you will find things are not all rainbows and sunshine.
An Inflexible Business Model
The survival of a small business depends on picking the right audience and offering them great customer experiences. To do so, you need to have a great degree of control over your marketing and reach out to the right audience on a constant basis. If you are doing online marketing, you can accomplish it with social media marketing, content marketing and email marketing. The same can be done offline by building networks, investing in outdoor ads and trying other ways.
When you are putting all of your eggs in OLX’s basket, you are essentially stripping off all the flexibility your marketing strategy needs, in exchange for some initial convenience. Yes, you can promote your ads on OLX. But you can’t target the buyers you want to attract. The return on investment will be far lower than platforms like Facebook or Instagram.
Also, you can’t offer discounts or any personalized experience to your customers. If you have a plan to stand out and grow, OLX severely hinders your growth.
No Organic Growth
A qualified constant free traffic is the lifeblood of any sustainable business. Usually, this traffic comes from SEO efforts, content marketing and social media marketing. If you are to build your business on OLX, you will get zero chance of building your audience. Essentially you would kiss any sustainable free traffic goodbye. The only way of gaining traffic will be OLX ads, which is nowhere near Facebook ads/adwords in terms of flexibility and sustainability.
OLX doesn’t take responsibility for any transaction. The seller and buyer mutually agree on terms and do business outside of the platform.
This model has its merit. However, it also makes platform users somewhat vulnerable. As transactions happen behind OLX’s back, it allows cyber fraudsters to prey on unsuspecting users, especially the ones with limited online shopping experiences.
There is no shortage of horror stories of some shady individuals on OLX who tricked the seller and emptied the seller’s bank account. Here is a recent story of a person who lost 1.5 lakh while trying to sell a pair of shoes on OLX.
Also, there is no control over the delivery process. In many cases, the buyer didn’t receive the item after payment.
One can argue, such unfortunate events are mere fractions of the total number of great deals happening every day. True. But numbers are still concerning and frauds are getting smarter. Why take chances when you know predators are waiting in the murky water?
Overall, selling on OLX as a business can work only if you treat it as a secondary marketing channel. Despite all the good things, OLX is restrictive and attracts unwanted people sometimes.
There are better options. Let’s talk about them.
How to Sell Online: The Better Way
If you are running a business and want to sell online, don’t cut corners. Start online marketing. Yes, it takes more work than simply uploading ads on OLX. But a well planned online marketing approach is sustainable, flexible and serves you for years.
Ideally, your website is your main marketing asset. Think of it as the nerve centre which connects all the other marketing channels.
Next comes social media, content marketing, paid ads and email marketing. These marketing channels build traffic and generate leads. Once your business lifts off the ground, you can easily scale it to match increasing demand.
Let’s discuss each component of effective online marketing in brief.
Your website is essentially your online business address and marketing lifeblood. Why is this so important?
- Qualified visitors from search engines and social media end up on your website.
- You can list your products on your website along with your business info for others to see.
- Most importantly, 75% of consumers judge your business credibility based on your website.
- Having your website also reduces fraudulent activity. Once you set up secure payment gateways on your website , your visitors can transcat without any worry.
- By building links and optimizing your website content, you can harness the power of SEO. A well-optimized website receives a constant flow of free traffic from search engines.
Most small business persons who don’t have a website yet often think getting a website is expensive, which is not untrue. Anything other than a basic 4-page website costs you money. To give you an idea, a very basic eCommerce site in India will cost you INR 35000- INR 350000. That number will increase exponentially as you want to add more features or improve performance.
Fortunately, with the Dukaan app you can build a pretty decent eCommerce website at a fraction of that cost.
The Dukaan app lets you build your website from scratch in 30 mins. Not just a random one page website. Rather a website with all the necessary eCommerce features like product listing, payment gateway, invoice generator, Live chat, email collection form and many more.
The premium version of the dukaan app costs INR 4999/year. On the OLX platform the same amount will get you only 250 ad limit for a single month.
Social media marketing
The main appeal of social media marketing lies in the fact that you easily spot your target audience and engage them. Social media ads allow you to narrow down criterias so that only your best customers receive the message.
It is one of the best ways of building brand awareness. Once you start rolling out SMM campaigns and influencer campaigns on a regular basis, the target audience starts recognizing your brand.
In the early days when there is barely any website traffic, SMM can help a lot. For example, you can boost posts on social media to drive quality traffic. And as you correctly guessed, qualified traffic converts way more.
The basic principle of content marketing is you gain trust ( and secure more sales) by providing valuable/entertaining content. It’s one of the marketing channels with the highest ROI.
When the inbound visitors recognize the value you provide, they deliberately find your content and start engaging. This creates a steady flow of leads without spending a lot. In other words, your cost per lead dives down dramatically.
Moreover, search engines drive even more traffic after noticing your visitors’ love for your content. In other words, effective content marketing improves your SEO.
Your customers love when you provide a personalized experience. They feel heard and cared for . That’s the best way to gain a band of loyal customers.
Branded apps are the best at delivering personalized experiences. It is faster than your website. Top on that it delivers personalized content and reminds your customers to engage with your business.
Yes, getting your own app is not cheap. However, Dukaan can help here too. Once you upgrade your Dukaan subscription, you are free to download your store APK. Share your APK directly with your email newsletter subscribers, social media fans so that they can download and use it.
Only after you have these pillars of effective online marketing in place can you experiment with OLX listing. OLX is a great secondary channel for selling online, just don’t make it your first priority.
OLX is one of the biggest classified websites here in India. To start selling on that platform is very easy. Just upload your ads, throw some cash and wait for interested buyers. OLX is really good for selling your old items occasionally. However, if you want to sell your product/services online as a business, OLX isn’t the best. In that case, you want to build an effective online marketing approach and treat OLX as a secondary option.