‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ has proved to be an effective formula for Gates, Zuckerberg, Jobs and countless others in the world of technology. Considering the fact that their success stories have become a part of the folklore of the IT sector, an astonishing amount of space is occupied by redundance. We bring to you a story that seems to have followed the formula to a T. The success of Locolist in universities in the United States has led to a partnership with Amazon.com, a plan (and its execution) of taking the App to more students in countries across the globe and in general, a pleasant and an optimistic time for the creators. We got to pick the brains of Ron McInnis who is at the helm of it all and we have for you an inspiring and informative interview.
Not many Apps out there serve the same purpose as Locolist. How did you conceive the idea for the App?
We are college students at Purdue University and Arizona State University who were tired of getting ripped off by the campus bookstores having to buy new or used books at a high price, then sell them back to the bookstore and receiving pennies on the dollar. So we needed an easy way for students to connect on campus and that’s how Locolist was founded. And we didn’t want classmates to have to buy or sell anything on Craigslist because you don’t know who you are dealing with on Craigslist, on Locolist students know they are dealing with other classmates, so it’s a lot safer.
At what point did you realize that Locolist was going to be massive hit among students?
After launching at Purdue and Arizona State University, we knew we had something big because of how many students were signing up and listing products to sell. Then from there we spread to over 100 Colleges across the nation, so we are just riding that wave.
Please tell us more about you partnership with Amazon. Also, what feedback have you received from users about your App offering Amazon’s Trade-in service?
We’re just getting started with Amazon but so far the initial response has been great because the Amazon Trade-in/sell feature is so easy and convenient to use. Students are now asking us if we can include Amazon’s buy and rental textbook program as well, so that’s what we are working on now. In addition to textbooks students can also trade-in/sell video games, CDs & DVD’s, and their used electronics to Amazon. Including textbooks there are over 1 million products that are trade-in eligible at Amazon. For example students who want to get the new iPhone 6s can trade-in their old phone using Locolist to get top dollar credit towards the purchase of a new iPhone. We have students trading-in a lot of things they don’t use anymore and getting a new iPhone for almost nothing! And the Amazon trade-in program includes free shipping so it couldn’t be easier for students to make good $$$ on items they don’t use anymore!
Currently, Locolist works only for students situated in the US. Do you plan to take it to other countries as well?
Yes we plan on introducing Locolist to colleges in India, China and Mexico, we are in the development stage with those apps now.
Do students contact you with their suggestions and ideas?
Students have requested a number of very cool features that we are adding to the app now, I can’t elaborate beyond that, but they are coming in the next 45 days.
Your App is available for both Android and iOS devices. How different has your experience been working with the two platforms?
Getting an app processed and approved in the Google Play store is MUCH faster than getting an app approved through Apple, other than that the experiences are very similar.
Lastly, what advice would you give to budding developers?
Try to keep everything simple, from the UI to the features that your app offers. Less is more and keeping something simple is a lot harder than you think, but simplicity is absolutely a requirement for success.