Hands On with the Depop app

In the first in out three-part series comparing the latest alternative shopping apps, we take a look at Depop to establish why it's developed such a cult following.

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Depop

WHAT IS IT?

Depop is a shopping app which has been likened to a mix between eBay and Instagram. Users can buy and sell whatever they want, although the majority of items available are fashion related.

It differs from traditional marketplaces like eBay with its profile system, which saves all the items you have ever sold, creating a profile much like an Instagram account which other users can follow.

It has amassed over six million users since its inception in 2012, and reportedly handles 22,000 transactions a day from 400,000 active daily users.

Seventy per cent of the users are female, largely aged between 18 and 26. It simplistic use and social media-esque platform have earned the app a loyal following of young shoppers and entrepreneurs.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

When the app is launched for the first time you’re asked to sign up to the app through your Facebook profile, or by email and some basic information.

Once that is set up the first thing you’re encouraged to do is find users to follow, much like Instagram or Twitter. You can do this either through a suggested list of sellers put into categories, or by searching for items and discovering sellers yourself.

When you follow a seller, their profile and items for sale are added to your home screen. For each profile, you can view items that have been previously sold, which appear as usual adverts with a yellow sold sign across them. You can also see what items the sellers have liked, leading you to sellers of a similar style or product.

Buying

On an item page, you are presented with various options. You can like the item, which expresses interest and adds it to your profile. You can bookmark the item for later reference.

A major difference between Depop and other marketplaces like eBay is that it is widely accepted to barter for the item. The comment and private message options are used predominantly for this purpose, allowing complete freedom unlike eBay’s rigid “best offer” system.

When a price is agreed, the seller can change the price immediately, and payment is made through Paypal or debit card. If there is shipping involved Depop takes a 10 per cent cut from the sale, however both parties can opt to meet in person and complete the transaction with cash.

Selling

Perhaps one of the key attractions of the app, is the ease at which items can be listed for sale. The Instagram-esque feel of the platform mean sales are largely dependent on the pictures.

When looking to sell an item, you’re asked to fill in basic information like location, shipping method and price, and category of the item. A short description is required but compared to the detailed run downs of other platforms, these are incredibly brief, often lasting no longer than 15 words.

You also have the option to share the listing directly on your Facebook and Twitter profiles.

HOW WELL DOES IT WORK?

What makes Depop so attractive, is its ease of use and simplicity. A vast majority of items sold fall well within the sub-£100 mark, so the super-detailed descriptions and photos from every angle that has become the norm with eBay are largely done away with.

This deformalises the buying process, and serves to encourage the social media aspect of the app. Plenty of retailers and marketplaces have attempted to harness the power of social media to create a shopping platform, but few succeed quite as well as Depop.

Although it is a familiar format, your suggested feeds and followed profiles present you with items of genuine interest. Furthermore, the removal of a time limit on how long items can be listed and the fact sold items remain on a profile page is reminiscent of apps like Pinterest, painting a picture of the seller’s personal style.

The ability for the seller to change the price of an item immediately enables and even encourages bartering for items. This is an essential part of buying second hand items, as the feeling you’re getting a bargain is a major pull factor.

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SHOULD I TRY IT?

Despite offering nothing revolutionary in terms of its software or platform, Depop feels familiar, simple and usable. Mix that with an eclectic range of items for sale and it’s easy to understand why so many people are flocking to the app to find bargains.

If you’re after vintage clothes, or just a bit of retail therapy without breaking the bank, Depop is certainly worth a download.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I love Depop! The quality of items & users is so much better than other apps. The items on Depop are genuinely really interesting and a lot more trendy than your average marketplace. It’s also really easy to sell, not just buy and I’ve never had a problem using it.

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