Gone are the days when you use newspaper ads to sell your products; instead, a new platform has emerged—you now head to online marketing sites, like Olx.ph.
In 2006, Filipino couple RJ and Arianne David wanted to find out what commodities Filipino consumers wanted.
RJ was a freelance web developer, and Arianne David, a project lead for a bank.
They decided to start their own website which they named Sulit.ph.
Programming the website himself, RJ kept features that visitors liked and eliminated those they didn’t.
First he created a program that captured the email addresses of people from other websites. He got 100,000 and sent emails to them inviting them to check out their site.
Out of this, he only got 22 people who registered. To resolve this problem, he created another program from his Nokia 3210 that captured cell phone numbers from printed classified ads.
Selling Secondhand Items
The couple devoted themselves full-time to the website, working out of RJ’s parents’ garage.
Little did they know that this ‘experiment’ and business that started from a humble beginning will be one of the most known online marketing platform in the Philippines.
“We want Filipinos to become active in selling.”
“We believe in decluttering our houses. Selling secondhand items is something that can improve your life—magbawas ng kalat sa bahay para umunlad ang buhay,” he shared to Inquirer.net.
The Birth of Sulit.ph
Their team of two grew to a team of five.
The company has established its remarkable strength and popularity on the Internet, consistently getting high rankings on search engines.
Sulit.ph soon expanded to a site that offers a free platform for people to post, buy and sell products—clothes, accessories, furniture, appliances and to even condos and cars.
“We hope that our latest campaign will resonate with many Filipinos who have a penchant for keeping things that are no longer being used. Instead of just taking up huge space in their house, these items can be sold to fetch earnings for the family,” he shared to ABS-CBN.
“In the Sulit.com.ph’s version of garage sale, selling is convenient, and covers a wider market. Even better, you might just be able to help someone in need of the item that is just gathering dust in your home.”
In 2009, Sulit.ph partnered with Myriad Investment Holdings, this boosted their company’s name.
After seven years, by the year 2013, the site already has 2 million registered users, 2 billion page views, an average of 10 million daily views, and 700,000 daily unique visitors.
Majority of the website’s members are from Metro Manila, followed by those from Cebu, Rizal, Bulacan and Davao.
Sulit.ph to OLX Philippines
In 2014, the company announced that Sulit.Ph was going to be rebranded as OLX Philippines.
OLX, an abbreviation of online exchange, is an company based in New York City and in Argentina.
With the merge of the companies, visitors to sulit.com.ph were redirected to the new URL olx.ph.
And on the website was an official announcement by RJ David.
“The name change to OLX aims to inspire Filipinos to re-think what they know about Sulit, and to re-think what they have to sell online.”
It now stands with over 8 million monthly users generating traffic of 481 million monthly page views.
The group is composed of 120 individuals in their Manila and Cebu offices.
As a parting message to aspiring startup businessmen, RJ told Rappler.
“I believe the culture is very important. You must be very specific on the culture you are going to create. It is the culture that will keep your team together.”
“Sometimes when you are growing big, you have to put structures, put procedures (and) put policies that can affect the culture of your company.”
“Always think about the culture that you are building because it’s the culture that can fuel the growth of your company. If you change it you might be heading the wrong direction.”
Featured Image Credit: Zhequia.com