eMapia location based marketplace

9 Aug, 2008

eMapia LOGO

eMapia is a new startup from the people behind the delivery services marketplace  Darrb. eMapia still in beta, is an enhanced Do-IT-your-self e-commerce site but with GoogleMaps, It enables individual or business sellers to list items for sale in according to their location, while shoppers can find items for sale in or near their neighborhoods.
The main difference between eMapia and other marketplaces according to eMapia :

The main difference is the user experience , In eMapia, you can search for products using the map based on the location. You can then search for people selling specific items within a geographical location you choose.

The other differences are that eMapia is not an auction based marketplace, no e-payment and delivery services. Sellers add items and set their prices. Sales closing happen with the buyers through email, phone or private messages. But eMpaia is planning to add integration with its sister company Darrb the delivery marketplace, or what ArabCrunch called Shipping 2.0

If you are a buyer you can use Google Maps integrated with eMapia, where you zoom to a location where you wish see what is available for sale. The list will be updated automatically as you zoom in and out. The list of items will be available on your left side to see what each location is selling.

To find an item, you chose the country from the list, the category and the search keyword, and the Item will popup on the left side and will be pinpointed on Google map at on the right side. But it dose not zoom to the exact location on Google Map, which I suggest them to add. Plus instead of using a drop down menu for the countries, it would be more usable to offer users the ability to type the country name while country suggestions will popup as they write. And the same thing would be when offering city, state and zip code.
When you click on the item on GoogleMap you a message will appear inside Google Maps that displays the item’s details which you can add to your favorites, it also displays the seller’s profile and the ability to send him/her a message, the same item features are available on the item page.

buy item on Google maps

Another suggested improvements:  To display the map and item that matches the member current location. And offering suggested items based on the member’s favorites and purchase history.

Sellers can add up to 5 items for free, to add more items, premium membership is needed. Premium membership is not yet launched, but eMapia will charge a yearly subscription rate, that will also include other incentives to be announced by eMapia on a later stage. As for shoppers the service is totally free.

Before I end this post I have some more suggestions to improve the site:

In USA garage sale is big, sellers can earn some cash to clear their items if they are moving or remodeling, while buyers buy items at a bargain rates. It would be useful for both sellers and buyers to have a Garage sale section, where buyers would find available garage sales in the location they desire.
This service is available on Craiglist, but eMapia would differentiate its self with the garage sale integration with GoogleMaps, and adding routing directions to the Garage Sale location, along with offering garage filtering according to happening right now, or in the future, which would be (scheduled Garage sales).

Another differentiating feature is making garage sale a short term  e-shop with a custom theme where sellers would add items with photos and descriptions while price should be optional. this would help shoppers to look the garage sales items before investing on going to selling location.

Coupons and Deal of the Day are offered by many traditional e-commerce site, and they will be useful if added to eMapia. Coupons would be most probably offered by businesses, which eMapia will charge more for displaying them. Deal of the Day in my location, category and item, might be manually inserted or using an algorithm that finds out the cheapest deal of a specific item, in comparison to other items on eMapia and the rest of e-commerce web sites out there.

Social shopping is a necessity in such marketplace, having a full seller profile, with buyers ratings and comments adds more trust and credibility to the honest sellers, friending buyers and sellers, would help find items sold by my friends, and forwarding them to my other friends, which adds another layer of trust and increase the sales of the sellers, (viral marketing).
Finally, adding Geo-RSS feeds would be helpful for buyers to get feeds updates to items offered for sale, according to item name, category, location, and seller. ( I recommend ArabCrunch sponsor Feedoor to manage the feeds.)

eMapia main usefulness I my opinion is delivery time: If I manage to find an item I wana buy that is offered by someone who lives few blocks away from me, all I have to do is walk or ask him to walk to me 🙂 and another one -if my suggestions are added- would be finding bargain deals or burning coupons from the shops next door.

eMapia competes with global and regional  companies offering sellers web tools to open shops in a marketplace or to publish classified ads without any programming, including: Yahoo, eBay, Souq.com, Craigslist and Facebook Classified.

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