Retail

eBay’s Gumtree Gets A Classifieds Makeover

Back when Gumtree started in 2000, it was meant to serve as a community meeting board for those planning on moving to London from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Over 15 years later, the now eBay-owned, U.K.-based classifieds portal is getting a major makeover, one of the few in its history, and may have its sights set on becoming a bigger player in the digital space in the U.K.

As VentureBeat reports, changing the logo may seem like a purely aesthetic change, but it’s actually integral to shifting perceptions of Gumtree in the current digital landscape. “Having what some consumers see as an iconic Australian logo causes confusion about who we were and what we were doing,” said Hannah Wilson, head of marketing at Gumtree, when she spoke with VentureBeat. “While that logo was perfect for the brand 15 years ago, it definitely didn’t represent who we are today.”

“Everywhere else in the world that has a classifieds site in a developed eCommerce market, those sites are among the top 10 in the country,” Wilson continued. “We just weren’t seeing that in the U.K. We’ve got 15.3 million customers every month, but our ambitions are a lot bigger than that — we want to be a brand that everyone is using.” According to Wilson, roughly 80 percent of that traffic comes from mobile devices, either through the Web or the company’s mobile apps.

Bearing this in mind, the company turned to agency Koto, who now employs the designers behind Airbnb’s controversial logo overhaul last year (though they worked for a different agency at the time). According to Koto Cofounder James Greenfield, the firm set out to create something iconic that could work on a range of scales, from a small mobile screen to large-scale advertising, he explained. It seems to have accomplished this, ditching the intricate original logo for a sleek new design that relies on a single strong shape (the Gumtree) rather than too much detail.

In addition to the logo refresh, the brand is also launching a series of marketing campaigns, including TV and radio spots and outdoor and digital ads. The site’s homepage will also get a refresh, as well as updates to the design of its mobile apps; location-based search functionality and improved messaging notifications will both be added. Gumtree will also be launching a 24-hour customer service live chat, email and a dedicated customer-centric Twitter account.

Gumtree General Manager Morten Heuing told VentureBeat that Gumtree is on a three-year time frame in terms of really ramping things up to the next level. “To keep up the momentum, we’ve set ourselves a target,” he said. “By 2018, we want every adult in the U.K. who uses the Internet to be using Gumtree.”

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