Justin, the founder of BLKMKT, has written me back concerning the review I posted. I wanted to share this new information, as a lot has apparently changed with the company and the site in such a short time. I am enjoying observing the morphology of BLKMKT and hope that it will continue to be a dynamically changing company.
I will be posting Justin’s words verbatim, just as I’ve done in the previous posts about his company. I wanted to discuss a few things further since my review went live to include reliability, trackers, help chat and so on. I think he’s so far very kindly put up with me harassing him with questions for some two months now.
1) Location Sharing – We are pulling that data in both Google Analytics and via GeoLocation (with user consent). The first use is to help us understand where our users are accessing the site from — helping us understand when/if we need to open a European specific market etc. The second use (which is approved by the user via browser pop-up) is for our basic implementation of localized trading. We have been testing the concept of pairing buyers/sellers together in a local area in an effort to build community and promote gear discovery. One of our product testers – Eric from TheGearLocker.net – sold an item in person and proceeded to sell several more in follow up transactions based on the in person meet.
Virgil: This is what I figured location sharing was for. It’s used with consent, so I don’t have any problems with this method to foster community growth or to try to further understand your customers.
2) Trackers – we are removing several of these and consolidating others in our 2.0 relaunch. Many were for initial testing.
Virgil: They have since dropped the New Relic tracker.
3) Marketplace Unavailable – this happens when updates are pushed and or servers are restart. Generic message. We plan to be around for a long time. This is just the beginning.
Virgil: I experienced a short down time even for an update push. Thus far I have had no issues with server reliability.
4) Online Chat – These are very popular with startups (intercom.io, zopim etc.) and allow curious users to ask questions and receive a live or emailed response. For those of you out here in start up world, these tools haven’t proven their value and we will be dumping them. Nearly all of our questions come in via direct email.
Virgil: I personally find the ever present chat window a little weird. My brief interaction with BLKMKT’s chat was non-responsive so I’m interested to see them moving forward with a leaner customer service solution.
5) Updates to the platform – We are finalizing a few new features for our 2.0 launch including a 1) new homepage, 2) vastly improved search, 3) a MSRP display option (and auto calculation of discount you are offering buyers) and most importantly, 4) the ability for buyers to make sellers an offer. These features were all inspired by user feedback. Can’t wait to unveil them.
Virgil: This is actually one of the reasons why I wanted to make this a separate post instead of sticking Justin’s responses in with part 2 of the review. I think the MSRP display option is a fantastic idea.
The addition of many different comfort items like the MSRP list function is definitely what will elevate the site above other bare bones options. These additions are in no way necessary to add to BLKMKT but it’s being done anyway to achieve a unique experience.
At first I was pretty skeptical about just how much innovation one can squeeze into a selling platform. At the speed this platform is committing to changes, I’m very interested to see if Justin can keep it up.
Despite having a stellar rating on a selling forum which I will not name on this blog, BLKMKT’s forward looking stance, transparency and rapid morphology make this an ever tantalizing alternative to switch to.