Gumtree is a classified ads site. It’s akin to the free ads in your local newspaper – you see an ad for something you want, contact the seller usually by phone or email and arrange to meet and pay for your purchase. Now Gumtree, at least in South Africa, is adding the missing ingredients of an online marketplace and adding payments and shipping to their site.
Currently Gumtree South Africa are offing online payments for items listed in their phones, computers, sports and leisure categories. It enables purchases to pay for items and then collect them without the danger of being mugged for a bundle of cash. However their new payments option also includes a shipping estimator meaning the seller can ship the item to their buyer and the two never have to physically meet.
Gumtree’s payments are handled through a partnership with South African escrow service Shepherd who’s service in turn is powered by Standard Bank. Shepherd holds money from the buyer, picks up the item from the seller, delivers it to the buyer and only releases money to the seller when they buyer is happy with the item on delivery. To use the service both buyer and seller need to sign up to the Shepherd service.
Are classified ads (online or offline) becoming outdated? They’re strictly local, inconvenient that you have to arrange a time to meet and have none of the instantaity of an online purchase which can be completed in seconds. Of course you may get your purchase sooner if you arrange to meet the same day, but local search on online marketplaces can enable that too.
If Gumtree morph into a marketplace with shipping and payments integrated on their classified sites around the world, we’ll see the bizarre situation of a the world’s best known marketplace eBay owning another marketplace in the form of Gumtree and competing with them in the same territories.
Editor Note: We are aware that Gumtree have a new logo, but in South Africa they still use the older Gumtree logo