Selling on Olio

Why are you launching a For Sale section?

  • For Olio to have the waste-busting impact we want, we need to make Olio more useful - both for existing members of our community and for new Olioers.
  • Our research has shown that:
    • The number 1 reason why people who join Olio don’t add anything to the app is that they “don’t have anything to give away for free”
    • A major reason why people stop using Olio is that they “forgot about Olio” 
    • The vast majority of current & future Olioers say that they would “like to be able to sell items on Olio”
  • Allowing the selling of non-food items on Olio is therefore critical to solving these challenges. It also forms a crucial part of our longer term vision to create a new model of consumption: one where local and second-hand are the default, instead of buying brand new. Allowing Olio-ers to sell second hand items locally therefore perfectly complements the current Olio model of giving, getting, lending and borrowing locally. 

Did you research this with Olioers?

As I'm sure you can imagine, for a decision like this we did a lot of user research, competitor research and data analysis. We sent surveys to representative samples of  Olioers which were answered by thousands of our community, and the vast majority were very much in favour of launching a For Sale section. We also conducted a number of focus groups too, and used the insights from that to shape our selling product and policies.

Is Olio ‘selling out’ by introducing selling?

In a word, no! To get millions more people using Olio - and to fulfil our anti-waste mission - we have to provide an easy entry point to our community. During a cost of living crisis in particular, there are fewer people than ever who have stuff to give away for free. So by enabling the selling of second hand items locally we’re making Olio much more inclusive than it is currently. Our plan is then to take our new Olio-ers on a sustainability journey that in due course inspires them to give away their spare food and household items that would otherwise be destined for the bin, as well as to encourage them to lend and borrow everyday household items too. 


Why aren’t you improving the core app instead?

Whilst there are many things that need improving about the app, our user research and data analytics shows that the impact of these improvements would be significantly smaller than the positive impact of launching non-food selling. Also, the new For Sale section leverages most of the same features as the rest of the app (listings, messaging, notifications, reporting etc), and so required a relatively limited build. 


Why aren’t you improving the Food Waste Heroes Programme instead?

We have three teams of developers at Olio, and two of those teams are dedicated to improving everything to do with the Food Waste Heroes Programme. The launch of the For Sale section doesn’t impact this, and those two teams will continue to make improvements for our Food Waste Heroes. 


How will you make sure the selling section isn’t mis-used?

We have customised our flag reporting feature so that it works for items listed in the For Sale section. We are continuing to work hard to automate the appropriate responses to flag reports, and to invest in our customer satisfaction team who support the community. We will also continue to build out further trust & safety-related features, including more advanced machine learning to prevent scamming.  


Will selling on Olio always be free?

We don’t currently have any plans to introduce a commission fee for the use of the For Sale section. However, as part of our broader efforts to make sure that Olio is a viable concern (i.e. so that our revenues cover our costs, which they do not currently) we may at some point in the future introduce some features, constraints or costs around the For Sale section to enable us to generate additional income.


For more information please check our Safe Selling & Selling Policies here

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