This post originally appeared on the JadoPado Blog and has been re-produced here to preserve the JadoPado historical record.
A post appeared on Reddit /r/dubai earlier today questioning whether “JadoPado is still safe now that we allow anyone to sell on the site”. I realised that we’d let some of our recent changes go unrecorded (there’s been a lot going on!) and it was best to turn my response into a post for transparency and posterity.
What follows is my response on Reddit outlining why we re-positioned JadoPado as a marketplace platform, why we decided to wind JadoPado Direct down, positives that we’ve seen and others that need more work.
Hello! I work at JadoPado and figured I’d jump in.
We re-positioned JadoPado as a pure play marketplace earlier this year. We got to a point in early 2014 where we realised that perhaps we’d figured out how to sell online in the region (and beyond) and what we were meant to be was a platform versus selling stuff ourselves. The initial idea was to add a marketplace to the existing JadoPado retail offering but as we got closer to beta testing and launch, it became clear that repositioning as a platform made more sense while turning our retail business into what we coined JadoPado Direct.
Post re-positioning, we essentially ran into two issues:
- We’d effectively introduced competition for ourselves on our own platform, at which point our pricing was expensive relative to everyone else on the platform as we’d never looked to be extremely price competitive (versus delivering a high quality experience). The power of JadoPado Shield, while a deciding factor for some, didn’t sway enough people. (I personally loved the product, and at the time it was possibly the first free accidental protection programme in the region)
- We’d started competing against sellers on the platform. We had a bunch of feedback from sellers who’d had overwhelmingly negative experiences on other platforms in the region (not naming any names ;)) where the platform saw that a particular product was selling well and then decided to jump in themselves through their retail business. This did not feel like the experience we wanted to provide to sellers.
Both of the above bits kicked off a really long mulling over period on whether it may be a good idea to stop selling anything ourselves. I was certain that we’d take a hit in the short term as it meant changing out something that we’d been building for the last 5 years and more importantly something that we were known for. There were days where we were certain that JadoPado Direct had to stay, while on others it was crystal clear that it had to go. Lots of hand wringing and raised eyebrows took place in between.
When the chips finally fell, we decided to take the incredibly tough call of slowly winding JadoPado Direct down while continuing to encourage our sellers to take on the task of using our platform to emulate and aspire to delivering great service — service that they could be proud off.
If you’re debating whether we may be a good choice for your continued custom (which we’ll obviously massively continue to appreciate!), I’ve outlined a few bits that we’re seeing that are incredibly positive and others that we need to keep working on:
- Our SKU range (i.e. the individually distinct products) went from 8000 SKUS to 54,000+ SKUs in a period of 6 months. That’s effectively more stuff available and more choice for buyers.
- We’ve gone from a single deepish category experience to 16 top level categories covering everything from antiques and collectibles through to babies and groceries. Over 5500 categories in total.
- Our traffic has tripled. This doesn’t may not mean much, but it helps us grow our business, which in turn leads to a better tools, a better platform and hopefully more great experiences in the future.
- We’ve signed up over 2000 independent sellers from around the world including Dubai, the UAE as well as the wider region. Some of our best sellers aren’t located in the UAE.
In a nutshell, a lot of what we wanted to do ourselves as a retailer, i.e. do more at scale, globally, just would not have been possible while remaining who we were previously. We just didn’t have the resources to do so and a shift towards building a platform and the tools that go with it made a lot of sense, allowing us to leverage everything that we had towards building out something bigger, better and bolder. Hopefully.
Turning over to your concerns:
- We currently allow anyone to sell on JadoPado. This is both good in that it keeps the doors open and bad in the sense that it potentially allows unscrupulous someones to get on the site as well. The primary way in which we’ve combatted this is that we control the money. Sellers do not get access to any money until they’ve successfully delivered your order and a waiting period has passed. In that time you’re given the ability to leave a review on the platform outlining your experience with a given seller. We remain the backstop should anything go wrong.
- We have a zero tolerance policy on fake product. If a seller is found to be selling fake or inauthentic product we crack down on it right away. We’ll ask them to refund orders, provide refunds ourselves and will shut any infringing accounts down right away.
- If a product is defective, we expect a seller to resolve this directly with their customer based on their policies. As the platform allows both sellers and buyers to talk to each other, we try not to get involved unless we’re asked to do so.
- JadoPado is marketplace of independent sellers each of who can define their own policies. We provide a base set of templates based on our previous policies and encourage sellers to use these to create policies that work for the type of business they’re building. Some sellers may opt to sell a given product at a super low price in return for a minimal warranty policy, while others may opt for charging a higher price while in exchange providing more after sales support.
- Unfortunately there isn’t an equivalent replacement for JadoPado Shield yet, but hopefully we’ll have someone come up with something interesting in the near future. Alternatively, LetsTango has a similar programme that’s run by Allianz Global Assistance — who used to run our programme before we brought it back in house, http://www.letstango.com/warranty-and-accident-cover/, that may meet your needs better.
- The reviews that you see on the platform are genuine and aren’t edited. One of my favourite sellers is Computer Care, http://jadopado.com/s/computercare. They are a local retailer who decided to go out and do e-commerce right with a view to build a really high quality experience. Bhavishya and his team have worked incredibly hard to build up over 350 five star reviews. If you click through you’ll see that each review is attached to a real live person and shows you what they purchased. What needs more work is encouraging individuals to turn their profile pages into pages that feel more trustworthy. This may happen through adding their social profiles and other details, but in a world dominated by Facebook, this is no mean feat to achieve.
- Aside from continuing to evolve the platform we’re working on a buyer guarantee programme, whose mechanics we’ve been debating for a while. We’ve also got a cases and dispute management piece that’s wrapped but hasn’t rolled out yet.
I hope that sort of helps. Happy to answer any questions that you may have!
Here’s to new beginnings, swivels and pivots. Onwards and upwards.