Amazon's peer to peer marketplace

2016-12-31 2 min read
    Andrew Parker's Spawn of craigslist

    It looks as if Amazon is entering yet another market - the local peer to peer marketplace. They just launched a peer to peer marketplace in Bangalore. The pitch is incredibly simple - you create a listing and it’s listed on Amazon. As soon as it’s sold Amazon will pick up the item and deliver it to the buyer. I’ve used Craigslist a ton in the past and coordinating the delivery and handoff was always a frustrating experience. There doesn’t seem to be much information on how quality is measured - what happens if the time you get isn’t in the shape it was listed or just doesn’t work?

    This is a perfect example of Amazon applying their standard approach of leveraging an existing infrastructure in order to launch a new service. They have the logistics and relationships necessary for delivery figured out and are somehow able to drive the cost to something incredibly low, in this case starting at 10 rupees (~15 US cents). The only way this will work is if there’s enough scale in order to handle the pick ups and drop offs in bulk - and I’m sure is also the reason Amazon is launching it in one city for now so they can work out the kinks.

    Andrew Parker's Spawn of craigslist

    Andrew Parker's spawn of craigslist.

    In 2010, Andrew Parker put together a visualization of startups that were competing with the different craigslist categories but there hasn’t been a ton of competition in P2P selling. Craigslist’s network effects were just too massive but it looks as if Amazon is taking some serious steps to improve the experience by leveraging their existing strengths. Given this cost structure I can’t imagine it expanding to a country with higher delivery costs - at least until drone pickup and delivery arrives.