Uganda’s Internet usage is growing, if we are to believe that we have between 8 – 11 million internet users and about 1.7 million of these are active on Facebook according to recent stats. That means that you can expect at least 1 million people could grow to use OLX on web alongside the 100,000 users who downloaded the app on Android.
As many people use OLX to sell used and new items ranging from electronics, shoes, animals to clothes in Uganda, a big number of people also use it to buy and sell their cars. It is probably the most popular online “local” avenue for car trade.
So, in case you have been selling your car and it’s not getting any love, you might be doing one or more of the things below:
The most common mistake people make is to sell their cars on OLX through brokers. I know a lot of people who are looking to buy used or new cars and they choose OLX because they consider it to be personal rather than having to go through countless intermediaries.
Some brokers are great to deal with but honestly many of them are greedy, rude, dishonest and a pain to deal with. Recently my friend struggled to find a Toyota Altezza to buy because all the ones he wanted had more than 3 different brokers he had to go through and he didn’t like that because the more they were, the higher the price was.
Each of these brokers kept adding a fee so the price for some of the cars wasn’t what the owner intended it to be. This doesn’t work in your favour, this simply slows down the sale of your car.
It is simple really, try selling the car yourself on OLX after doing a cost research and see. You may not even spend a week with it. Try adding the “no broker” tag in your description, thank me later.
2. Poor Categorization.
Don’t you just hate it when you enter a supermarket and look for your favourite soap, but can’t find it yet you are in the aisle surrounded by detergent, toothpaste and other items? Imagine you find it in the scholastic section along with books and rulers? Annoying, right?!
Similarly, the OLX app is simpler to navigate by choosing the categories you are interested in viewing or when you are filtering your search and at times your car is missed because you either poorly categorized it among motorcycles, spare parts or none at all.
You should always place your car in the “Vehicles” then “Cars” categories because sometimes people are bored and simply browse through an entire category until they see what they like, digital window shopping of sorts. You never know, they might like your car and contact you just like that.
3. Wrong Pricing.
Like categorization, a user can choose to filter their search query or a category by arranging the items to display according to price from lowest to highest or vice versa. There is nothing more irritating than finding a car price as “shs.1”, “shs.25” or “shs.500,000”.
I know it could be a mistake where someone missed a zero or just recklessness where the users uploaded an item in a hurry and didn’t give a damn about looking through their ad and fixing any errors. I will assume many other people are like me and will simply ignore that ad and go to the next which is clearer to them.
You should always be precise and make sure to include a price you are comfortable with, does not have to be exact, could be higher so as to leave room for haggling and negotiation, that is okay because a person knows where to begin from.
Many users tend to forget to update this entry or simply put a random figure like 1 or 2 and move on. That is off-putting for buyers who are very experienced with cars. They will look at the images and number plate and scroll to the next ad in scorn because they think you are simply dishonest.
The mileage will determine your cars price just as much as the number plate would. Anything above 100,000 or 120,000 and people are more cautious because they have to consider several factors now such as accident history, service status and whether the engine is in good condition. If you are a good driver, you shouldn’t care much about that.
You will always find the mileage on the Odometer (ODO) on the dashboard where your fuel gauge, speed and rev counter reside. Always be honest and include it, it will save you a lot of questions later and might bring you buyers who have already made a decision to buy.
By now you have realised most of the common mistakes are in the details submitted when filling in the primary item description and title. This is because people don’t take enough time and care inputting these details and reading through the ad after.
Your description should be neat and on point, talk about some of the things even if you have included them in the primary description and the image.
For instance, “A black 2002 Toyota Premio on UBE/C automatic transmission with 30,000km in great condition on quick sale at 15 million. Please call/whatsapp me on xxxxx. No brokers.”
It is brief, but describes whatever the person needs to know to make a decision saving you time to answer those questions. It is also a good contingency in case you forgot to fill one of the details in the primary description.
6. Showing the Number Plate.
Displaying the full number plate is not an issue for many but it is real stick up for some. More and more everyday, Ugandans are becoming ever more private with their lives. They may not want to buy a car whose number plate has been splattered all over an online app.
Some people even forget to remove the ad later. You can deal with this by omitting the second part of the plate and only referencing the first 3 letters and the last at the end of the number plate. For instance, if the plate is “UBE 000A”, simply reference, “UBE/A”
7. Poor Images.
Some images of cars on OLX are truly disappointing, the person may upload only one image from one view or several images of the same view, unclear images, some images of the wrong car mixed with the right one or even their own selfies. This is often times confusing.
As much as you want to get money for your car, I think you should invest sometime in taking very good images and properly organizing them. Most phones today take very good images, just time when there’s a lot of light, hold the camera still and snap!
It is good practice to take images of the front, both sides, the rear/back, interior from the driver’s side to show the steering wheel, the passenger side showing the gear lever and dashboard and the back plus if you can though not always necessary, the boot. And you are done.
Whoever contacts you won’t ask you to first send them images of a certain angle or part you missed because you already included them.
Don’t forget to blur/block the number plate, most apps can do that. You can use colours and draw over it or a coloured box or an emoji, whatever works for you.
8. Poor Communication Skills.
Poor communication is very common on OLX and that is why many people had deserted the app thinking most of the sellers are scammers or not worth dealing with, but thankfully today most of the tech and electronic sellers have tried to change on this and often employ women to be the first contact of communication even in the chat.
However, car sellers are still rude and some confused. If you speak English, some don’t get you and the ones that do just don’t care. They have the “if you don’t understand what I posted, then look for another seller” attitude and others are plain abusive sometimes earning them a ban from the app.
There are also those who don’t want to be called or texted or chatted to, they claim you only WhatsApp them. 8 out of 10 times, those are usually scammers or thieves so beware.
So next time in case you are wondering why your car isn’t selling yet it is cheaper than the one your friend just flipped, you might want to look into that.
9. Create and Fill Out Your Profile.
OLX has the ability to create a guest post and you add your number in your description but often those accounts appear as “OLX USER” and look less trustworthy. We love to deal with real people or companies and seeing your image might give such confidence that you are legit.
So, setup an account, verify your phone number or link your Facebook or use your email address. Add your names and a decent picture, details and a description of what you do or why you are on OLX.
10. Chat response.
Always respond to your OLX chats. The buyer might lose interest if you ignore their messages for more than a day, competition is high. By the time you decide to respond a week later, it will be too late.
Be nice, it costs you nothing. Look at it as the small price you are paying to make a good sale. And if you regularly sell things there, people will follow and speak good of you because you will be a rare gem on the app.
I know a guy who sells second hand sneakers from London on the app, but he always runs out of stock one week after he has brought in new ones because he is super calm, patient and extremely nice to people.
It is crazy how people now book him ahead before he brings anything. That could be you too.
OLX is still a growing marketplace in Uganda with a lot of future potential. It may not be on the scale here as it is in Nigeria, Kenya or the Middle East but it is still a great place to make a sale. Some might even argue that is might be the most successful classified ad exchange in the country.
Whatever the case, these simple etiquette’s above will go a long way to helping you sell your car and even assist you when looking for and buying a new or used one through the same app.
Are there any things you find annoying when buying a car on OLX that users could improve on that we missed on this list? Please let us know in the comments below and we might add them.
Lawrence writes about tech, lifestyle, politics, business, crypto and occasionally entertainment. He writes for Newslibre and Spur Magazine while consulting with numerous international companies on strategy, community management and marketing.
He has contributed to the journalism, open source, film, youth, web, Andela and Mozilla communities.