Matchio: Buy HyperLocal
With fear in her eyes, she ran over and clutched my arm, her fingers gripped tightly like a baby’s first grip, and she uttered those infamous words, “I bought something on craigslist, i’m too scared to go get it by myself”
I’m sure most of us, male and female alike, have had a similar experience. Trepidation due to an anonymous hyperlocal transaction that’s already taken us hours possibly even weeks or months to orchestrate. You know the routine, Search everyday, search at work, search during dinner, send some anonymous emails, get a bunch of awkward emails, come to an agreement with some random, faceless stranger out there, then have some more awkward emails and calls as you try to figure out how to meet up to close this transaction.
The process is riddled with inefficiencies and annoyances. Matchio set out to fix this. Starting with the college campuses and the most transacted good on a college campus, textbooks. We focused on three of the most important problems to avoid solution confusion.
Problem #1, Trust. How do you reduce the apprehension that comes from dealing with people around you that you may not know. Matchio’s answer: focus on surfacing deep, shared connection, e.g. same or similar school or workplace, interconnected social circles, etc.
Problem #2, Search, just once. Matchio used wish lists as the primary contribution model. This allowed us to do a few interesting things to simplify the discovery process: 1. we could customize search criteria based on what type of good you were looking for e.g. textbooks versus apartment. 2. We could now notify our users when stuff they wanted became available matching them to highly motivated sellers in real time. Hence, MATCHio get it?
Problem #3, Meeting up: In hyperlocal commerce, the e-commerce checkout experience that would usually end in shipping ends in a meeting. Matchio introduced the “match meet” to fine-tune that process. Not a full-fledged scheduling tool, but a scheduler none the less, the match meet used a simple 2 step process to determine the optimal day/time for two parties to meet. Needless to say, it was one of the hardest pieces of our engineering puzzle, 2nd only to the core matching technology underlying matchio.
Building the underlying technology and a great user interface was a tough challenge but my co-founder and I were fortunate enough to assemble a team of amazing people that were up to the task. As product manager, I have to say working with these people, and engaging with users through hundreds of customer service calls and emails, was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career so far.
Matchio was available at 8 colleges in the United States and Canada and was sunsetted in Fall 2011.