While most e-commerce sites focus on sellers, Ubokia is a buyer-centric platform where consumers describe exactly what they want. An unusual take on e-commerce for sure.

E-commerce: switching the focus from sellers to buyers


Much of e-commerce is built on developing marketplaces where consumers visit online storefronts analogous to their brick and mortar counterparts, browsing or searching for items. Alternative models exist, for instance in the form of classifieds, but Ubokia has developed another model, focusing its interface on what users want. Hopeful buyers create a post and describe what they want as specifically as possible, and include their location as well as desired condition and price range. The marketplace diversifies its features with an option to list an item for sale, as well as üGroups, which are made up of users of a particular region, profession or interest. Some üGroups can be invite-only, in order to create a trusted environment or focus on the buying, selling or trading of specific types of items or equipment.

More than “wanting” items, actually getting them

Bringing attention to the wanting action on the Web has been addressed by Facebook’s plan to create a “Want” button to complement its “Like” button, and startup Wantworthy is creating their own as well. But according to Ubokia’s Colby Nelson in response to GigaOm’s coverage of the formers’ strategy, the critical feature is connecting the consumer with what they want, “and actually get them (preferably for a deal). Wantworthy and Facebook’s want button completely miss this vital half of the buying equation.” His service is built to be a marketplace instead of just a middle step for consumers in between the browsing and purchasing processes.

Bringing the model to other sites

Ubokia not only has built a site that changes the e-commerce focus from sellers to consumers, it also lets its members create their own communities around the things they want. Extending that vision to the Web at large, Ubokia recently launched Ubokia Everywhere, a platform that lets any site – blog, forum, brand website – create a consumer-focused marketplace. Community classifieds and local blogs will be able to create revenue from transaction fees, build group-buying functions to encourage regular site visits and offer discounts to their community, and filter relevancy for marketplace items. 

By Ivory King