From eBay sellers to Multi-million dollar Startup An Interview With Victor Levitin

From eBay sellers to Multi-million dollar Startup: An Interview With Victor Levitin

From eBay sellers to Multi-million dollar Startup: An Interview With Victor Levitin

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Transcript:

Alex Ogilvie:                       Today we are talking about eBay. And to share his experience with us as one of the world’s leading experts on eBay template design and eBay template effectiveness with over 60,000 customers, yeah, so that’s 60,000 customers and 15 million optimized listings under his belt, I’m delighted to welcome Victor Levitin from Crazylister.com. Vic, welcome to the show.

Victor Levitin:                    Thank you for having me, Alex. I’m excited to be here.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Jolly good, jolly good. Look, before we get on you talking about Crazylister, I was looking over your career highlights and it struck me that you started off by studying law. Actually what attracted you to law in the first place? That sounds like a strange way for a technologist to start his career.

Victor Levitin:                    Well, it is. In fact I was studying law and economics. It’s a combined degree here in Israel. And I chose this because I didn’t know exactly what drove me more, was it the mathematics, was it the numbers or the words? So it shows that that’s kind of combined both, but yeah, it has absolutely no connection to what I’m doing now. And actually I was drawn to the commerce world while I was a student in my second year. And from that moment on that I kind of, I came to classes with a laptop and I was just running my eBay business from the university basically.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Oh really? So you actually started this when you were an undergraduate?

Victor Levitin:                    Yes, that’s correct.

Alex Ogilvie:                       And was that easy to balance, almost being quite a lot of work to try and keep under your belt studying law and running a business?

Victor Levitin:                    Yes, it was hard, but I studied hard for the exams, but between them, let’s say that I didn’t have much time for the usual homework.

Alex Ogilvie:                       But that sounds like a normal student except you were actually working rather than just lying on the couch watching TV.

Victor Levitin:                    Oh yeah, not a lot of beach time for me, no.

Alex Ogilvie:                       So when you graduated then the business was already up and running and you had something to move into. Is that how it basically went?

Victor Levitin:                    Yes, exactly, I had a small business running, I’ve already brought in my partner with me. His name is Max. And we had a small business running by the time I finished my degree, yes.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Brilliant. And was that the business that became LGO or was that a different business?

Victor Levitin:                    Yes, this is the one, and LGO is actually an acronym for our last names, I’m Victor Levitin and Max is Max Godin, so if you combine Levitin and Godin, that’s LGO.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Ah, right. So what specifically were you selling with LGO? What was it you backed up on that you actually sell?

Victor Levitin:                    Our initial breakout was actually with one of the most competitive categories on eBay which is GPS devices for cars. Back at the day before people had smartphones and free GPS devices basically, it was very popular to have a dedicated device for your car, dedicated GPS device. And this was like the first success we saw on eBay.

Alex Ogilvie:                      Right. So what year was that then?

Victor Levitin:                    Oh wow, it was 2010 I think, something like that.

Alex Ogilvie:                      Goodness. It also shows how quickly technology has moved on.

Victor Levitin:                    Oh yeah.

Alex Ogilvie:                       I mean, we all expect everything to be on on mobile phone and don’t have to buy anything else. Yeah, interesting. So supplier, how did you stumble across a supplier for those type of devices?

Victor Levitin:                    That’s an interesting story. It all started, I mean, we were selling on eBay and it was not a great success. We were grossing out a few hundreds of dollars a month, maybe couple of thousands, nothing really beyond some change for beer. And then I needed a GPS for myself, for my own purposes. And I’ve ordered a GPS from a Chinese supplier. It was like 50 bucks GPS and I expected it to be like, pardon my French – “really shitty”, I expected it to work for like two or three trips, and that’s it.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Right.

Victor Levitin:                    Because the listing itself, the way it was designed it conveyed anything but good quality.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Right.

Victor Levitin:                    So I purchased the GPS and it was a damn good GPS. In fact it still works to this day and it travelled with me through four continents. It was brilliant. And it was then when I called Max and I said, “Okay, we have a business on our hands. We will sell the exact same GPS on eBay. We will just wrap it in a much more professional and much more trust-conveying listing design than the Chinese supplier did it. And to make a long story short, the seller from whom I’ve purchased my GPS became our supplier and six months later we were dominating the GPS category on five different eBay sites in US, UK, Australia, Germany and France.

Alex Ogilvie:                       That’s fantastic. It just shows you that you are really good to just grab an opportunity when you see it and take full advantage of the situation.

Victor Levitin:                    Yeah, definitely.

Alex Ogilvie:                       And I suspect the supplier he was delighted as well because presumably has sales up as well.

Victor Levitin:                    Oh yeah, I mean he still continued selling on eBay, but we were outselling him as well, but his margin remains the same. He doesn’t really care if he sells the item to us or to an eBay customer.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Right. It’s fantastic. So how were you driving those sales? How did you actually manage to penetrate places like eBay Germany? Was it just listing expertise or that you try and support it through advertising or any other techniques?

Victor Levitin:                    To summarize the technique and I write a lot about this in our blog, but the technique can be summarized to – “never stop testing”. So we had a few assumptions. We are located in Israel and we had all the disadvantages. So we don’t have like eBay in Israel, so there is no eBay.il, so we had non-existing local market. We could not possibly ever compete on prices, so we could not offer the lowest prices. We were shipping from China to the western world, we were shipping to the US, UK, Germany, Australia. So shipping could not be a unique valuable position for us neither because shipping from China takes time. Having all of these disadvantages we figured the only advantage we can have over our competition was just, like I said – wrapping the exact same item in a much more trust-conveying and in a much more appealing listing. And if you think about it, I mean, Apple has like, I’m talking about the Apple iPhone. In terms of sales it makes like, it’s 20-25% of the smartphone market. But in terms of revenues, in terms of profit Apple makes like 98% of the profit in the smartphones market. And if you ask why, the answer is because they are deadly focused on the experience, on the design. I mean iPhone is twice or even three times more expensive than any other smartphone on the market, and people still buy them like crazy. Why is that? Because they convey the notion that it is a better device, a better product with design. So this was exactly our idea, that’s conveyed the fact that you’re getting a higher value when you are buying from us because our listing is much more professional, much more trust-conveying.

Alex Ogilvie:                       And because of that, that expertise in creating that listing, I guess that means that you stayed on the eBay channel. You didn’t consider moving anywhere else or did you moved to other channels as well?

Victor Levitin:                    Oh yeah, of course. It was really hard being dependent on one channel. I mean, in terms of a risk as a young company you always try to deriskify your business. So early on we made the decision to expand beyond eBay, and we did, we expanded to Amazon, to Amazon US and the European Amazon sites, and later on to our own web store.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Right. So on your profile I was looking at you earlier days on LinkedIn, the growth of the business was very impressive. I mean it seemed to go from nothing to significant in no time. How difficult was that?

Victor Levitin:                    Great question. So the growth happened because we were very methodical, we were very process oriented about our business. So we were constantly gathering input from our customers, and this is how we realized how can we make our listings better, what buttons to push, what is it? I mean, if you look at a GPS device, it has tens or even hundreds of different attributes: Screen size, battery life, software, map updates and what not. And we needed, again, being process oriented, we constantly found out how to improve our listings to convey a more and more focused message on what made people to actually buy.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Right.

Victor Levitin:                    Now when growth began and we were a two men show, it was Max and myself, so the first thing we did is to look for optimization solutions. How can we optimize the process? Because if you think about it, the process looks like this, we were getting orders from eBay, from Amazon, from our site that these orders needed to somehow get to our supplier from China, and we needed to pay him his fee, the cost of the GPS device that he needed to actually ship the GPS device to the end customer, and we needed to somehow get the tracking number to update eBay, Amazon and the customer.

So this whole process was very time-consuming, and very fast we found ourselves spending like 70% of our day on the day-to-day processes, just running the business without having free hands to grow further. So we started to actively look for a solution to streamline the order processing of this business model that we had, and that’s drop-shipping. And back at the day the landscape of multichannel e-commerce solutions, it was very shallow, there was not a lot of offerings out there. And actually failing to find something like that, we hired a software developer and we built our own kind of in-house solution to accommodate our exact needs.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Right. So the whole thing was built around your own software, but also the core to that was the supplier itself was actually fulfilling your orders to help manage your costs and the logistic challenges as well.

Victor Levitin:                    Yes, exactly. And there are a lot of risk involved in this because, it’s like putting 50% of your business in somebody who you’ve never met, somebody on the other side of the world because everything that has to do with logistics, stock-keeping and what not, it had to do with the supplier. And from time to time he screwed up and we had to cover for this.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Right.

Victor Levitin:                    And I think the most important learning here is that the customer is not to blame. If our suppliers screws up we need to make the customer happy, no matter what. So we were refunding customers, no questions asked. If we were late to deliver an item, whatever, we were focused on making the customers happy even if it meant losing money in the short run, but reputation was above all.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Yeah, I think that’s really important, and I think a lot of sellers when they first come to the marketplace, they don’t understand how important it is to keep that level of satisfaction extremely high, even if it means … like you are suggesting even if it means cost on your part. There is often no choice, you just simply have to get the customer happy again.

Victor Levitin:                    That’s the only thing that you have online, your reputation. Other than that you are just two anonymous guys from Israel trying to ship an item from China to the US and make profit out of it. If you don’t have reputation, you don’t have anything.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Yeah. I can really get a feeling for that that you really did go to extremes to make sure that the customer was happy. So LGO, does that still exist today or is that a past business?

Victor Levitin:                    Oh yeah, it still exists. The business took a brand-new shape and we found a brand-new niche where we focus on for the best five or six years. And it’s currently called Gripup.com and we focus on professional video equipment. Those are the stabilizers, the cranes for videographers to stabilize the video. And it still exists, it still works. Max and myself, we do not run it on the day-to-day operations, we have partners who run it. Actually they are your neighbors, the business is being run from London.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Right, yeah, very close neighbors, but i’m in Scotland. So London is a wee bit faraway to be called a neighbor, but we’ll forgive you that.

Victor Levitin:                    It’s closer than Israel 🙂

Alex Ogilvie:                       So that explains LGO as now, and it’s obviously reinvented itself as video specialists, video equipment specialists. Crazylister then why, why that shift into software? I mean coming from retail to technology doesn’t seem, again, doesn’t seem obvious but then your career today is not the most obvious, given that you started off in law. So why Crazylister?

Victor Levitin:                    That’s a good question. Actually we’ve grown LGO to make a successful business. It was grossing nearly $5 million a year in sales. So it is a good business, but if I’m turning back to our LGO story to the GPS devices into the process and the methodology we did, never stop testing, constantly improving and optimizing our listings to convert ever better. We were noticed by eBay, and when eBay opened their offices here in Israel, they’ve invited us and got to know us personally. They were very interested in the tools, in the technology and methodology of what we do. In the first eBay event here in Israel back in 2012, eBay granted us with awards for having the highest conversion rates in the Israeli selling community.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Right.

Victor Levitin:                    And it’s actually, it was actually eBay itself who pushed us into offering our know-how and our technology to other sellers. We did not even imagine doing this. And we started doing this as the service for other businesses, optimizing the listings for them. And after doing this for a few months, we got a really good understanding of how does it look for other businesses that what we were doing that looked like very trivial for us if this is the process that you need to do. Just like you have to test and optimize a website or a landing page you must constantly optimize your eBay listings to improve sales. And not create eBay listings as a one-time creation, it’s a process.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Right.

Victor Levitin:                    So we realized that this was a new convention for eBay sellers. And then we figured that this is not what we want to be, we don’t want to be a service agency to have a lot of designers and optimization experts to work on project because this way it’s not scalable enough. We could at best serve few hundreds of customers this way, and eBay has 25 million active sellers. So early on we understood that this must be a SaaS solution, software as a service solution. And this was what gave birth to Crazylister.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Right, that’s fantastic. I mean the idea that eBay saw how successful you had been and encouraged you to go and share that knowledge. That certainly gives you a very good introduction to the eBay business world I’d think.

Victor Levitin:                    Yeah. And, of course, it gave us a lot of authority. And, again, being two anonymous students we found ourselves running the biggest businesses in Israel, chains with hundred of stores, and we were running their ecommerce for them. So we’ve learned a lot. And we figured that we must make this knowledge and technology affordable and available to the average eBay seller, not only to the biggest businesses.

Alex Ogilvie:                       So building the product, building Crazylister.com, again, that’s very different from consultancy, that requires software engineers, it requires a lot of project planning and it requires a lot of cash. Were you able to fund the development of your own resources or did you have to bring an external funding to do that stuff?

Victor Levitin:                    We were bootstrapped for at least two and a half years I think, which means that every penny we were making out of LGO we were investing into building Crazylister. So instead of buying houses and cars and even beer, we were building Crazylister. At first it was developers who we know from the Army or friends or whoever was willing to work for the lousy payment that we could afford to pay. But then we got to an initial traction to the first like 10,000 registered users. And it was enough to interest a VC, and we got some external funding a bit more, we got $600,000 in investment. And it was enough to grow the company to what it is today.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Fantastic. I think that’s very common, a lot of technology startup is trying to get that bootstrap process going so that you can show the capability and the potential for it and then to pull in a VC. And when you look at your international marketing then because obviously people know you around the world, they know Crazylister around the world, how did you do that international marketing? Was eBay again very key in that or did you have other routes to market yourself?

Victor Levitin:                    There are two components here, up until like half a year ago the only thing that we had working for us was content marketing or organic marketing. And early on we understood that what we have, what was unique for us versus other solutions is that we have a story, we have our own experience and our own journey on eBay. And we say that this must be valuable for other sellers, why don’t we share it?

So the idea is, here is the blog, the blog is called ‘An eBay Seller Journey from 0 to 100,000 a Month’ and we share everything we’ve learned. And we are in a unique position where we can share it. And it’s not like, I mean, if we make other sellers successful it doesn’t hurt our business. It’s the opposite. So we were just pouring and we still do it, every week we write about learnings, about what worked for us, maybe more importantly what did not work for us, what we learn nowadays from Crazylister users, and it’s proving to be very highly valuable for eBay sellers, and we don’t necessarily write about how to design high converting listings, we write about anything from how to save PayPal fees to how to find reliable suppliers.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Right.

Victor Levitin:                    And the idea is that sellers who read this who read these blogs, they say, “Okay, these guys obviously know their shit, so I should probably try Crazylister.”

Alex Ogilvie:                       Yeah, I think there was a lot of content out there where it’s pretty obvious that people are just filling up space on the internet. So I think when people do same stuff that is clearly run by people who know their shit, they like to stick with that. And you are right, that can obviously lead to sales, and in your case people using Crazylister.com. And a very cost-effective way to do, obviously time-consuming, but cost-effective, you are not spending huge amounts of marketing dollars.

Victor Levitin:                    Yes. So that’s for the organic or content marketing. It costs a lot of time, but of course not a lot of money. And then about a year ago we brought a marketing expert onboard with a proven track record. We’ve grown to this stage at the company where at first we were, like I said we were hiring whoever was willing to work for the salary that we could offer, but then the company grew a bit and we started to only hire people who have a proven track record, who are experts in their domain and have a history to show for. So we brought in such a marketing expert and he has done wonders to our paid marketing. And the paid marketing now drives a lot of great traffic to, and relevant traffic to Crazylister.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Brilliant, because it’s very easy to spend money badly, so if you’ve got someone in control of that who knows the best places to be spending your dollar then that can only be a good thing. And I guess you monitored it very closely on a, if not daily then certainly weekly kind of basis to see how effective …

Victor Levitin:                    Oh yeah, we are fanatical about numbers. If you look at our history, we were measuring the conversion rates of our eBay listings, and this is exactly what we are doing with Crazylister itself. We are measuring everything to constantly improve the software, to constantly improve our marketing efforts, the effectiveness, we are very data-driven. There is no such thing as pretty, I mean, when a designer presents a design for Crazylister, it doesn’t matter if you think if it’s good-looking or not, we put everything to the test, and we let the users actually decide what’s better.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Yeah, I can understand that. I guess at the moment then when it comes to listings eBay is clearly going through a lot of reinvention. The current thing that’s obviously bouncing around is I’m requesting people to remove active content. You must see a lot of that type of activity. Could you explain the listeners what is active content?

Victor Levitin:                    Yeah, of course. Actually there is a lot of confusion about active content, and eBay is really bad at communicating changes. But to your question, active content is a general name for bunch of technologies. The most famous ones are JavaScript, HTML forms, Flash. And these are usually used for different add-ons or widgets inside the eBay listings. I think that the most famous widget of all time is the Auctiva cross-sell gallery which like millions of listings have up there.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Right.

Victor Levitin:                    And I think now Auctiva have a non-active content, non-JavaScript cross-sell gallery. But for over a decade, all of these cross-sell galleries by all companies, they were done with JavaScript. Now the reason why eBay is removing active content, there are actually two reasons. Reason number one is because 58% of eBay transactions are being touched by mobile.

And active content technology doesn’t render fast enough and well-enough on mobile devices. They cannot be adjusted to the small screen good enough and fast enough, it takes a lot of time to load. So that’s the first reason because eBay is very mobile centric. And the second reason is because of security reasons. Back in 2014 eBay had a security breach which had to do with active content.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Right.

Victor Levitin:                    So a combination of this movement of everybody turning to their mobile devices, and then security, there has been a lot of security scares recently.

Alex Ogilvie:                       And so I guess that that would make really good sense. So if listeners are trying to identify for themselves, if they have got problems with their listings, how can they easily tell if they’ve got listing that doesn’t meet with eBay’s new requirements? Is that an easy thing to spot or is it quite a technical thing?

Victor Levitin:                       Actually eBay sends emails to sellers pointing out the specific listings that do have active listings in them. And if your listeners want to check it for themselves, it’s not something that you can see with the naked eye. I mean, you need to be technical to see it, but there is a great free tool out there which you can use, which the listeners can use to test their listings for the existence of active content.

Link to the Active content testing tool – http://www.i-ways.net/mobile-friendly/en-us/

Alex Ogilvie:                       Right. So it’s nothing that you can actually easily spot, you really do have to use a technical tool to try and identify where you are breaching?

Victor Levitin:                    Yes, that’s correct.

Alex Ogilvie:                       And once they identify these things, can they fix these problems themselves or is it really a requirement for a software developer or an eBay template specialist?

Victor Levitin:                    The first thing to understand is what happens, what will happen now in June. It’s not like eBay will remove your listings, rather whatever is active content at the first phase it will just stop working. So if you have a YouTube video embedded into your eBay listing, it will just stop working. It’s not like your listing will go down. So it will kind of uglify or make your listing ugly.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Yes. Uglify, I think you’ve just invented a new word.

Victor Levitin:                    I mean I’m an Israeli, I don’t need to stick to proper English, it’s okay 😉

Alex Ogilvie:                       I’m Scottish, I don’t, I never speak proper English.

Victor Levitin:                    There you go. So, yes, in order to remove or replace active content, you either need to be a technology savvy and understand how to write the code correctly, or we developed a solution which can apply 100% active content compliant template to your listings, essentially removing any active content you have.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Right. So does that, so if I had a template that I needed to revise, I can take out in the Crazylister.com system and it will tidy things up for me.

Victor Levitin:                    Yes. You can design a template to your liking, click a button and the template will be applied to all of your listings with one-click.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Ah, right. Again, I mean, it’s back to this thing that people need simple solutions and a few guys have got their expertise and the system works easily and well. You can save people’s so much time and effort. And, again, but typically, we go to Crazylister.com to get access to creating those templates.

Victor Levitin:                    Yes, that’s correct.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Jolly good. And I guess, I mean obviously your LGO experience back in the early days demonstrated to yourself how important it was to actually have a good quality eBay template. How big a difference can a good quality eBay template actually make? Are we talking 5, 10% of sales or can it be much, much more dramatic than that?

Victor Levitin:                    Let’s talk numbers. We are a data-driven company, so let’s share some numbers. Our own experience shows that we managed to increase our sales and our conversion rate by 220%. So that’s more than double our business over the course of six months of constantly optimizing. Only the the description of our listings, only the design, because again we could not play with shipping, we could not play with prices, so design was the only thing we could compete on.  We constantly measure the effect of Crazylister on sellers. So what we see is an average increase of 10.5% across all categories. And with some categories, I mean, for example, I don’t know why, but for smartphone accessories we see some sellers increase sales by up to 300%, I can only assume that this is because these are low-priced items.

I mean, they are more prone to higher conversion rates because if you are looking for, I don’t know – a USB cable for an iPhone that costs a dollar or two, you will not think too much. I mean you will be more easier with your finger on the trigger of the ‘Buy It Now’. So if you make the page look professional and trustworthy, it’s probably enough to make somebody click on the ‘Buy It Now’ and create their own conversion rates.

Alex Ogilvie:                       I guess the temptation is for some sellers if they are only selling something for one or two dollars that they don’t then invest the time and effort to make that look like a quality listing whereas what you are saying is if you do actually spend the time to make something look good even if it’s only worth a couple of bucks, you will see a big difference in the increase in your sales. I guess actually is what you are saying.

Victor Levitin:                    This is what our data suggests. So yes, yeah.

Alex Ogilvie:                       All right, I like the way that you are saying is not you, is the data.

Victor Levitin:                    Yeah. I know but sometimes I mean I’m still consulting companies here and then. And they come to me, “I’m the expert, I have more than a decade of experience,” and they come to me and they say, “Hey, Vic, what should we do here to replace, a blue button or a red button, from your experience?” And I always tell them the same, it doesn’t matter what I think, it’s all about the data, put it to the test and measure.

So here is an example to probably the most famous improvement that I encouraged sellers to do, try to put your face on your listings to convey trust. so Max and I, we were putting our images on our listings saying, “We are the owners of the business. We are the ones answering your eBay customer messages. We are the ones taking care of your orders. If anything goes bad, these are the guys that you are talking to, and here are our listings. We are real, we are not some anonymous scammers from the other side of the world.” And it did wonders to our sales.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Right.

Victor Levitin:                    But before we were actually able to measure the effect, it doesn’t matter what we think. So some sellers will put their face up there and it will drive their sales down. I don’t know, for whatever reason. Maybe, again, maybe by putting your face out there you are uglifying the listing, I don’t know, but – always be testing.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Unfortunately I can’t test my face, I can’t change it, I can’t do AB testing with my face, I can’t swap it so. I like the idea to that. You are right, I mean I think if you can personalize the sales activity on what is largely an anonymous online platform, that must make a big difference.

Is there any other top tips that you’d suggest the retailer? Obviously you are very keen on testing alternative listings and tweaking things on an ongoing basis, but what’s the kind of standard mistakes that you see an eBay seller making?

Victor Levitin:                    Oh wow, there are lots of them.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Really?

Victor Levitin:                    I think a lot of sellers are thinking for the short-term, not for the long-term.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Right.

Victor Levitin:                    And it should, if you are thinking for the long-term, where will my business be in two, three years from now, your decisions today will be highly different than if you think how much money or profit will I make by the end of this month because I see a lot of … There is a buzz around ecommerce now and people are selling courses promising you the idea of – work for two hours a month and be in millionaire, billionaire, whatever.

And it’s important to understand that an eBay business or any other online business, it’s a business, it’s hard, you will need to sweat, you’ll need to work. It’s much harder than having a nine to five job, you are responsible for everything. And if you think for the long run and you don’t just try to make a quick buck scorching the marketplace after you, leaving a bad feedback for yourself and for the marketplace. I mean if you provide a shitty service, a shitty experience for eBay, Amazon or whatever platform buyers, these buyers may not come back to the marketplace again.

So you are not just ruining it for yourself but you are ruining for the other sellers on the marketplace. And I don’t know, maybe it’s more what we see in Israel, but this is really something that we see from newcomers to eBay, they are really focused on making the today, they are not building a business for the long-term. They’ve heard their friend making $10,000 on eBay a month and they want to get there within a week. They don’t have the spirit, they don’t have the breadth to go to the struggle of months upon months of building the foundations for a stable business.

It’s okay to do mistakes, it’s not your customer’s fault that you are doing mistakes. And in those cases where the customers are jerks, and there are bad customers out there, it doesn’t worth your time to start to argue with them and for them to give you a negative feedback, just pay them the five or $10 or whatever their un-reasonable refund amount they are asking for, just pay them this, the few bucks and continue on building your business.

Alex Ogilvie:                       I think that’s really good. I think certainly we see the same, there is a lot of people who don’t understand that this is a hard business, that it’s going to eat up a lot of your time, you are going to have a deal with customers who can complain when a complaint isn’t justified.

So I think that’s good advice, you got to work hard. I mean it’s like any business, there is no easy way to make a lot of money. I think that’s probably the best that we can offer anybody. Get working hard, it’s not an easy thing to do. So what’s coming up next to Crazylister, is there anything exciting coming up over the next few months?

Victor Levitin:                    The idea that with which we approach new developments is this. If we can improve a process by at least ten times and make it ten times easier than it is done today, we’ll do it, otherwise we will not. So here is what we are building now. We are called Crazylister, but in fact we are not a lister, we don’t have a function now within Crazylister to launch new listings from Crazylister to eBay.

We have the functionality to apply template to live listings. You can copy the code to eBay if you are creating new listings on eBay, but there is no single process to click a button and the listing will be created directly from Crazylister. And the simple answer is because up until recently we did not see how can we improve the process over what eBay offers you.

So if you have to fill in this monstrous form on eBay having 30 fields, filling in your title, your category, your specs and whatnot, it will be exactly the same, maybe a bit prettier form on Crazylister, but there is not much improvement here. But we are doing a lot of what we call customer development. We talk to our customers, we interview them, we ask them what are their biggest pains.

And then we realized that a lot of ecommerce is actually copy-paste. I mean eBay sellers, they don’t usually take their own photos, they don’t usually write their own descriptions, they’d go to the manufacturer’s website and just scrape the data manually. They would download the images, take the descriptions, titles, and then compile them into the eBay form.

So hearing more and moreof Crazylister users doing this, we said, “Hey, why don’t we automate this process?” And this is exactly what we are working on now. We call it a Smart-lister, where  you as a seller you will tell us what is it that you are trying to sell, say I don’t know an iPhone 7 or whatever, and we will find it and we’ll scrape that automatically for you and pre-fill all the forms for you.

So as a seller you’ll basically only need to tell us what is your quantity and what is your price, and the rest of the details will be already prefilled for you. And, of course, you will get a professional mobile optimized template for eBay.

Alex Ogilvie:                       It’s fantastic. That’s something to look forward to for a lot of folks because I know when they find a new supplier or they want to open [inaudible 00:44:00], they are often too off by them in a working effort, they have to go to to move those listings into a form that eBay understands. So if you guys are gonna make that so much more painless, that can only be a good thing.

Victor Levitin:                    That’s what’s coming next.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Good. We’ll wait. We’ll wait with bated breath to see it coming over at the Crazylister.com website. Sounds fantastic. Vic, it’s been fantastic talking to you, but before I let you go I’ve got six quick-fire questions to end with. Now I have to warn you, I can only take your first answer, so don’t get any of these wrong. Are you ready for some quick-fire questions?

Victor Levitin:                    Let’s go.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Skiing or skating?

Victor Levitin:                    Skiing.

Alex Ogilvie:                       eBay or Amazon?

Victor Levitin:                    eBay.

Alex Ogilvie:                       English or Russian?

Victor Levitin:                    English.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Coffee or tea?

Victor Levitin:                    Tea.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Dogs or cats?

Victor Levitin:                    Dogs.

Alex Ogilvie:                       TV or cinema?

Victor Levitin:                    TV.

Alex Ogilvie:                       Vic, that’s fantastic. You’d be delighted to know you scored six out of six, so well done. Look, thanks again, Vic, it’s been fantastic having you on the show. Everybody should now pause off and go look at Crazylister.com, look at your blog, find out how to remove active content, and of course try out Crazylister.com for themselves. Thanks very much, Vic.

Victor Levitin:                    Thank you for having me, Alex.

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