As the sharing economy picks up steam, hyperlocal founders are searching for new verticals that they can disrupt. Having already tackled transportation, housing, and home services, startups are now looking for ways to reinvigorate the function of traditional newspaper classified listings.
Positioned as an alternative to Craigslist, which is often viewed as seedy and impersonal, hyperlocal marketplaces that facilitate the buying, selling, and sharing of goods between neighbors are filling an untapped niche and bringing together people in local communities.
Here are five examples of hyperlocal marketplaces that neighbors can use to buy, sell, and share goods with people around them.
1. Cir.cl: Make sales and connections.
Cir.cl is about more than just helping people sell the things they’re no longer using. The company says its platform is a tool for connecting neighbors based on common interests and stages of life. Users create “circles” based on their social graphs and personal interests, which help them find communities for buying and selling goods they may be interested in. Cir.cl gives its users the flexibility to make and accept offers, and then coordinate payments and arrange for shipping or pick-up, without leaving site. Responsible buyers and sellers are rewarded through positive reviews and feedback. Cir.cl also offers a free forum integration plugin, which hyperlocal publishers can use on their sites.
2. NeighborGoods: Save money by sharing with neighbors.
Most people would rather borrow an item that they’ll only need once or twice — like a ladder or a power drill — than buy it outright. The challenge has always been finding out who has which products, and whether the owners of those products are willing to share. NeighborGoods has developed a marketplace where people can list the items they’re willing to lend, as well as the things they’d like to borrow. Users have the option to share their listed items with the entire NeighborGoods community, or only with those people they’ve listed as “friends.” They can charge rental fees to strangers or lend their products out for free. The NeighborGoods platform includes a reservation calendar, reminders, wishlists, and private messaging between users.
3. Krrb: Discover treasures being sold by trusted neighbors.
Krrb bills itself as an online scavenger hunt, where users can discover treasures being sold by people in their own neighborhoods. One of the keys to Krrb is trust. The site pushes back against the seedy feeling that people get from Craigslist and similar worldwide marketplaces by focusing on user transparency, member verifications, and account certifications. Krrb uses things like email addresses, Twitter and Facebook friends, and member referrals to verify new users before they can buy and share with others on the site. Local merchants and event organizers can also use Krrb to target nearby customers and connect with influencers in their own neighborhoods.
4. Main and Me: Support neighborhood businesses without stepping outside.
It can be hard to support local merchants when the alternative is to stay inside a warm house and place orders with online retailers. Main and Me has developed a marketplace that online shoppers can use to browse inventory being sold by merchants in their own communities. Users can create “instant stores” by snapping photos of local products, captioning those photos with details like the price range, category, and store, and then “checking-in” to the business where the products are from. Local shoppers can search for products (like “red sandals” or “toaster ovens”) and immediately see which nearby stores have them in stock. Shoppers can then drive to the retailer to purchase the items, knowing that they won’t have to worry about products being back-ordered or unavailable.
5. Grabio: Mobile classifieds for individual neighborhoods.
Although Craigslist fills the void left by newspaper classifieds for some people, the worldwide marketplace lacks the community feeling that many buyers and sellers want when conducting transactions with people they’ve never met. Grabio is a mobile marketplace that services individual neighborhoods with an API that notifies users when they’re near specific items. People can list their products for neighbors to see (complete with photos and detailed descriptions) right from their smartphones. Buyers, meanwhile, can browse which products are available from both individual neighbors and local businesses. Grabio notifies users when the products or services they want are available in real-time, and connects users through visual, location, and messaging features.
Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.