Way back in 1997, John Slocum created the very first software tool for eBay sellers: AuctionAssistant.
Over the past twenty years John has not wavered from his niche of creating desktop-based, feature-rich software for eBay sellers.
After eBay bought his first company in 1999, John spent ten years writing software as an eBay employee. When eBay let John and his team go in 2009, John set up his own company again and carried on writing software for eBay sellers.
That company is SixBit, and it’s going strong today. With nearly twenty years in the business, John’s history and knowledge of eBay, and software for online sellers, is unsurpassed.
Now, surrounded by so many cloud-based applications fighting for users, SixBit has held firm as a desktop tool for eBay sellers. But, in a way, that’s coming to an end – because SixBit is adding support for selling on the Amazon marketplace too.
I caught up with John to find out more about his long and remarkable history with eBay. I wanted to find out why he started down this path in the beginning, why he still prefers desktop-based software, and why SixBit is now adding support for eBay’s biggest rival.
Few eBay sellers do so well with their business that they go on to open a bricks and mortar store. But Shaun O’Brien of Selby Acoustics, based in Melbourne, Australia, has opened two.
Few eBay sellers advertise anywhere outside their eBay listings, but Shaun does. He has sponsored racing cars – both real and virtual.
And few eBay sellers start their own private brand. But yes, you’ve guessed it, Shaun has two. And one goes by the unappealing name of Ugly Cable.
I caught up with Shaun to find out how he grew such a successful online business, ask why he started his bricks and mortar stores, and learn more about his branding strategy.
Since 2009, M2E Pro has been connecting Magento, the world’s most popular ecommerce platform, with the world’s most popular marketplaces – eBay and Amazon.
It is a hugely popular system.
M2E Pro has been downloaded over 80,000 times from Magento’s app store, and in 2015 it handled nearly 57 million orders with a total value over $2.3 billion. Over 31,000 unique eBay accounts are connected to the system, along with more than 9,000 unique Amazon accounts.
Its massive user base makes M2E Pro one of the most popular marketplace management systems out there.
But that’s not all. There are three more factors that make M2E Pro even more remarkable:
- M2E Pro was completely free until late last year, when it stopped being funded by eBay.
- The company has a very strong community-driven philosophy. They don’t see M2E Pro as a piece of software you just buy and use, it’s a cause that every user should support and believe in.
- M2E Pro isn’t standalone software or cloud-based. It’s part of the Magento ecosystem, and is designed to do a very specific job alongside Magento and other apps. It can’t do anything on its own.
I spoke to M2E Pro co-founder Alex Podopryhora about this unusual company’s history, philosophy and future plans.
Brightpearl is a vendor of multichannel ecommerce software that has been growing steadily since it was founded in 2007. They now have more than 1,400 customers in 30 countries and handled more than $4 billion of gross merchandise value (GMV) in the last year.
I wanted to find out more about them, for three reasons. First, they have been very successful in both the UK and the US. That’s not common in this industry.
Second, a key strength of their system is its ability to manage the financial aspects of a business – it does accounting, in other words. Other multichannel systems do some of that too, but few make it the core of their software. You don’t even need a separate accounting package if you use Brightpearl.
And third, it’s not easy for a software company to maintain great customer support, particularly when their system sits right in the middle of business operations. Just a small technical glitch or communication delay can be enough to cause significant business problems, and earn a negative review. But Brightpearl has an excellent reputation in the Web Retailer directory.
So I caught up with James Scott, President of Brightpearl Inc. in the USA, to find out what makes this company so unique.
BREAKING NEWS: Today Brightpearl announced new funding of $11 million to accelerate the growth of their US business. That’s a fourth reason to find out more about them!
Many of the multi-channel sellers I talk to are focused on the operations of their business.
They spend most of their time working on the processes that enable their business to run effectively: managing inventory, shipping orders, and handling customer service.
But when I spoke to Kyle Goguen, the founder of natural dog treats company Pawstruck, a different theme kept repeating itself. Kyle understands the importance of efficiency, but his enthusiasm really shines through when the conversation moves to another topic: marketing. I believe it’s Kyle’s enthusiasm for marketing that explains how this young business – less than two years old – has become successful so quickly.
Whether the topic is branding, email marketing, product reviews, social media or even packaging, Kyle has something to say. We also talk about Amazon Lightning Deals: Kyle reveals how his deals performed over Thanksgiving, and gives advice for other sellers on making the most of Lightning Deals.