LiveDeal.com, a popular free local online classifieds sites in the U.S., Tuesday launched its Canadian counterpart, LiveDeal.ca (LiveDeal Canada), through a joint venture with Torstar Corporation, and its online unit, Torstar Digital.
According to a company statement, this venture will "provide Canadians with a revolutionary new online marketplace to buy and sell goods on a local and national level. LiveDeal.ca breaks down online shopping barriers by enabling buyers and sellers to meet in person and 'try before they buy,' which eliminates prohibitive shipping costs and reduces fraud. LiveDeal.ca is especially ideal for buying and selling bulky or big-ticket items such as furniture, cars, pets and major appliances."
LiveDeal appears to be one of the few to have any measure of success in the online "classifieds" or auction space. Many other challenges to eBay, like the ill-fated Wagglepop, have quickly come and gone. LiveDeal appears to have a leg up on the competition, as several members of its management team are eBay alums and the company appears to be maintaining healthy growth in the number of uses and items listed.
In April of 2005, ECommerce Guide reported LiveDeal met a new milestone with the merchandise value of items listed on LiveDeal.com in March 2005 reaching $1 billion.
"Local e-commerce is the next wave of the Internet, and LiveDeal.ca and Torstar are leading the charge, leveraging the power of the Internet to enhance classifieds. It is reinvigorating the category and will change the way that Canadians shop online," says Simon Jennings, General Manager of LiveDeal.ca. "LiveDeal.ca empowers Canadians with robust local classifieds and e-commerce functionality previously unavailable. The result is that buying and selling goods in Canada on the person-to-person level is now faster, easier and more cost effective than ever before."
The Advantages of Local Online Buying and Selling
LiveDeal.ca says it offers Canadians an e-commerce marketplace for virtually every town in Canada - unlike any of its competitors. Canadians can access LiveDeal.ca through www.livedeal.ca or through the online classified sites of The Toronto Star, the Hamilton Spectator, The Record and the Guelph Mercury, which are powered by LiveDeal.ca.
A LiveDeal spokesperson told ECommerce Guide that eBay's KiJiJi and Craigslist are the company's main competitors in the Canadian online classified marketplace.
She added that LiveDeal.ca's key differentiators compared to KiJiJi and Craigslist are that it:
- Services every postal code, city, and province in the country, providing broader access and reach compared to a city-by-city model;
- Offers a professional e-commerce experience that allows users to conduct safe transactions directly through the site if they choose;
- Is built to be family-friendly so users don't have to worry about children coming across inappropriate content;
- Requires no listing fees for consumers, even for jobs, real estate or car listings.
LiveDeal says consumers can simply log on to the site and register by providing basic contact information. Sellers can begin listing items for sale with photos and detailed descriptions in just a matter of minutes. The process is the same for buyers. Users can browse or search for items in a particular city, province or postal code, or reach out on a national scope if they so choose. LiveDeal.ca claims it is also the only nationwide online classified site to offer e-mail alerts that notify buyers once an item they seek becomes available on the site.
"In our judgment, LiveDeal is simply the very best online classified service there is. It combines the best of the Internet and e-commerce with the best of online classified advertising," says Tomer Strolight, president of Torstar Digital. "Torstar remains committed to providing Canadians with value-added community and advertiser services that complement our print and online news services. Classifieds advertisers in our daily newspapers will now receive unprecedented additional reach through LiveDeal.ca, at no additional cost."
LiveDeal says Canadians are among the world leaders in Internet usage, with the fourth highest level of broadband Internet penetration in the world, "but this usage doesn't always translate into online sales. Canadians like to research and 'window shop' online but buy offline. LiveDeal.ca brings together buyers and sellers in local markets, avoiding shipping costs and hassles, and gives consumers an opportunity to check out the merchandise before they purchase it."
"LiveDeal's mission is to do local online classifieds better than anyone else by combining the best of the Internet and e-commerce with the best of person-to-person transactions," says Rajesh Navar, founder and CEO of LiveDeal. "Since our official launch last year in the U.S., LiveDeal.com has become a favorite marketplace for buyers and sellers all over the country with more than one million unique users visiting our site each month."
According to comScore Media Metrix, the U.S. site LiveDeal.com is consistently one of the top 10 most visited online classified sites on the Web and has ranked ahead of Yahoo! Classifieds, among others, for attracting a greater number of unique visitors over the past three months (August-December 2005). Since its official launch in the U.S. in November 2004, LiveDeal US says its listings have grown by 300 percent to feature more than 400,000 items daily worth more than $3 billion.
With regards to international expansion, the LiveDeal spokesperson told ECommerce Guide, "The company is in talks with numerous potential international expansion partners (like Torstar) worldwide."
Devin Comiskey is the Managing Editor of ECommerce-Guide.com.
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