The CollX app launched with Stream Chat fully integrated, intending to leverage it as a social component. While some collectors used it to build community, others negotiated deals through it—nevertheless, chat is an essential component for each way this marketplace is leveraged. Inspired by its customers, CollX sought to design a new feature to streamline sales, increase conversions, and lower churn.
Challenge: CollX intended its chat solution to add a social element to the app but soon realized its collectors used the channel to bundle and bargain for trading cards. To increase conversions, CollX needed to streamline the negotiation experience for users.\
Strategy: CollX leveraged the flexibility of Stream's React Native SDK to engineer and integrate a custom in-app chat negotiation solution to cut down on the back-and-forth messaging between collectors who wished to strike a deal.
Result: CollX customers quickly adopted the new Deals feature and completed 1,500+ sales within days of its launch. The combination of a dynamic chat interface and quicker negotiations resulted in a 75% retention rate for the app's chat users.
Inspired by his kids' love of sports card trading, Ted Mann co-founded CollX (pronounced "collects") in early 2022---an app with 10 million sports cards in its database and over 250K users.
It is the fastest way for collectors to figure out what their sports trading cards are worth. Users instantly learn their current market value by simply snapping a photo of their cards. After that, it's up to the collector whether they'd like to add them to their digital portfolio or trade and sell them to other CollX users.
In-App Chat: To Build or Not To Build?
While sports memorabilia collectors are always searching for hidden gems, others might not be looking to add to their portfolio 24/7. Either way, they can still utilize in-app chat to connect with other trading card enthusiasts and express appreciation for their collections.
Mann knew that the community-building power of messaging would be an essential part of the CollX experience; what was left in question was whether to build an in-house solution or partner with a vendor to create one. Before deciding, he and his team evaluated Stream along with several other competing solutions.
Mann says, "We looked at Sendbird and one other vendor, but our decision came down to all of the different libraries, documentation, and tutorials Stream had. Those sold us more than anything."
Although he had originally considered developing a proprietary chat functionality, ultimately, "I wanted to launch a feature-rich chat solution fast. And I felt that the Stream Chat product was very mature," Mann says. He goes on to share that Stream's React Native SDK allowed them to do just that, taking no longer than a couple of weeks to integrate fully.
Game-Changing Chat Features
The primary goals of an in-app messenger are to increase user engagement, retention, and lifetime value. CollX leveraged Stream's extensive UI customization options to design a chat interface that would be reliable, performant, and easy for its 250K+ collectors to use and enjoy.
Stream's React Native SDK enables CollX chat users to talk 1:1 with other collectors, react to messages with emojis, indicate when they're typing, create and view user profiles, confirm message delivery with read receipts, set their online status with presence indicators, upload images, files, and GIFs, initiate backslash commands, load URL previews, autocomplete sentences, edit and delete messages, and more!
CollX also utilizes push notifications as an engagement tactic to drive users back to the app—and it seems to be working. Mann says, "We see a 75% retention rate for our chat users." For mobile apps in the eCommerce industry, anything over 35% is considered elite.
Buy, Sell, Trade, & Now: Negotiate
CollX launched with Stream Chat fully integrated, intending for it to act as the social component of the app. While some collectors used it to build community, others negotiated deals through it.
"What we saw happening organically was that people were interested in buying cards and doing deals. Since the only way to reach out to another collector was through chat, people were negotiating within those chat threads," says Mann.
Inspired by its customers, CollX sought to design a new feature to simplify users' in-app chat bargaining, bundling, and sales process.
The Deals feature allows collectors to browse the collection of other users, bundle the cards they want to buy, and make an offer. Their offer is then shared with the seller over chat, where they can make a counteroffer and sweeten the deal with free shipping, like in the example above. Over 1,500 sales were completed through the Deals feature within days after its launch.
Mann says, "Users could not transact if it weren't for Stream chat. The deals feature is so tightly integrated with our chat interface."
After the seller accepts the deal, CollX has configured Stream Chat to send a system message, like the one highlighted in the example above, to prompt users to make shipping and payment arrangements.
What Can Fans Expect To See Next From CollX?
Like CollX chat users inspired the Deals feature, Mann says, "We are always improving and iterating." Collectors will continue to see a release of new, user-centric features to make their in-app experience faster, easier, and more dynamic, like native checkout, shipping, and more marketplace functionalities to build on Deals.
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