Online auction site Bidorbuy launches app for iDevices

Online auction site Bidorbuy has launched an app designed to work across a range of Apple’s iDevices. The South African-based site, which claims to be “Africa’s largest online marketplace”, says the app has a number of the same features as the full-blown site.

According to Bidorbuy, the app will allow people to “take part in an online auction”, “buy items at a fixed price”, add items to their watchlist or cart “and proceed to checkout”.

The app’s release is so far limited to South Africa and Kenya and, if needs be, users are required to switch between the apps for each country by themselves.

The app is compatible with iPhones and iPod touches running iOS 3.0 and higher.

Other features of the app highlighted by bidorbuy include the ability for users to track live auctions they are “winning, losing, or have lsot”, “share items via email, Facebook, or Twitter and “ask Sellers questions with the Q&A function”.

According to Bidorbuy CEO Jaco Jonker, the app is part of the company’s wider mobile strategy. This strategy began with the roll out of its mobile sites. Given its emerging markets audience, mobile is priority for the company.

Jonker also reckons Bidorbuy’s mobile sites are just as good as the app.

“You should be able to do everything an app can and I think we did that,” he told Memeburn.

Jonker says that the company plans to build apps for other operating systems in the near future and admits that might’ve been a good idea to start with Android, given its growing presence, especially in emerging markets.

He adds, however, that Bidorbuy felt that working within the iPhone’s closed system held certain advantages. “It’s also cool to have an iPhone app,” he said.

Jonker says that the company is happy with the app, adding that more features were likely to be rolled out in the future:

“There’s a number of things we have not released that we could do better”.

Although he personally finds the space interesting, Jonker says the company has no intention of taking the HTML5 web app route for its product. He adds, however, that the company will definitely “watch the space”.

For now, though, he believes “A native for app for a device will just give a much better experience.”

Bidorbuy has been around the halcyon days of the late 90’s dot-com bubble. During that time it held online properties around the world, although it underwent a period of massive consolidation, with its Indian property eventually being bought out and going on to become eBay India.

The Kenyan version of the site, meanwhile, was launched in late 2010.

The company also recently flighted an ad selling the merits of online shopping on the basis that real world retail experiences are akin to stepping into a jungle.

The world’s largest online auction player, eBay has apps across the iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry markets.

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