OLX PH merges with Carousell: What you need to know

Karen Flores Layno, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 09 2019 01:49 PM | Updated as of Jul 09 2019 03:46 PM

OLX Philippines will be part of Carousell.ph starting July 15. Handout

MANILA – In case you still haven’t heard, OLX Philippines is merging with the Singapore-based online marketplace Carousell.

Starting July 15, all of OLX Philippines’ listings will be migrated to Carousell.ph, as well as ads from the former’s real estate portal, Property24. 

ABS-CBN News recently got to talk to Raffy Montemayor, general manager of Carousell Philippines, about the merger.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

Q: How did the merger come about?

“It was really a meeting of two minds. Both OLX and Carousell really saw the potential in the Philippines and from Filipinos, that’s why we formed the partnership. We have resources and strengths on both sides, and we’ve placed them together. 

“On OLX, we’ve built a strong leading position in the Philippines, and we’ve also built strong commercial capabilities over the past few years. But Carousell has a really strong and highly engaging app and strong tech capabilities. So by bringing those two together, we can really help adjust the needs of our users, both now and in the future.”

Q: When did the talks start?

“The talks started last year and we’re really investing to make sure that both OLX and Carousell were the right partners for each other. We spent a lot of time also understanding the culture. In order for a partnership to really work together, we needed to have similar missions, we needed to have similar cultures… There was a lot of commonality, and we decided to work together as a result of that.”

Q: You said something about OLX Philippines and Carousell catering to different market segments, and you want to combine those through the partnership. Can you tell us more about that? 

“Yes, unknown to some, OLX Philippines caters mainly to men, and Carousell largely caters to women. When you put those key segments together, you pretty much cater to everyone, and you make sure that whenever somebody’s looking to buy or sell, it’s just a bigger marketplace.”

Q: What will happen to OLX Philippines users starting July 15?

“We’ve decided to keep the Carousell platform so OLX Philippines accounts will be migrated to Carousell. For the past few weeks, we’ve been reaching out to OLX Philippines users via SMS, e-mail, and other touch points on the platform, asking their consent so we can migrate them over [to Carousell]. 

“We’ve also been doing info sessions over the past weeks to speak with users face-to-face, both professional users as well as regular buyers and sellers, for a smoother transition.”

Q: What can users expect from the new Carousell after the merger? 

“We’re really focused on providing the best classifieds experience. And it’s really about making things mobile first, because that’s what our users are looking for. More and more Filipinos are experiencing the Internet for the first time through their smartphone, and we want to make sure we’re investing in the right technologies that when they do use or try our platform, it’s super easy and super convenient. For one, we’re making it much easier to list, because that’s friction. And the more friction you have, people may decide not to pursue or post.

“We want to allow our users to list in three seconds or less. And that’s quite a challenge because right now, it takes 30 seconds. And doing it for 3 seconds requires investments in AI, machine learning, to make that possible. And we’ve started making those investments now, we’ve been testing it out through listing suggestions. We’re also helping our buyers find what they’re looking for through image search, and that all draws from artificial intelligence and machinery.”

Q: What are your key observations about Filipino buyers and sellers online? 

“What I do see is in the Philippines, we’re a lot more social – and we allow for that within our platform. We have groups that bring communities together, like people who are interested in photography. They can exchange ideas, and they can even refer listings or items on our platform – all within the platform.

“We’re also very social so people can share cool listings they discover through different social media apps just so that they can keep sharing what they find within the community.”