Auctiva turns 15 this month—a big feat for any company, and a major milestone for a software company. To celebrate, we are hosting a Facebook contest and giving customers a chance to win two eBay gift cards: one for $50 and the other for $100.
Click here for details.
In light of this momentous event, Auctiva EDU sat down with Jeff Schlicht, Auctiva's founder and CEO, and Rebecca Miller, Auctiva.com's product manager, to find out what this achievement means to them, how Auctiva has stood the test of time and what they hope for in the future. Let's see what they said.
Auctiva EDU: What's it like to see Auctiva turn 15?
Miller: It's very cool. There are not a lot of sites that can say they've been in business 15 years. There have been so many startups that have failed. Our anniversary shows that we continue to make our customers happy.
eBay didn't have image hosting … We were the first to do that for people selling on eBay. To be able to upload an image from your computer was huge
Auctiva EDU: Jeff, when you started Auctiva, did you ever think it would still be a growing company after 15 years?
Schlicht: You don't think like that when you start a company. At that point you're just hoping to grow the business—and be in business—and have customers embrace your product. I definitely was not thinking Auctiva would have 100-plus employees 15 years later, but I was fortunate that the product was well received and really needed.
Auctiva EDU: Why was it needed?
Schlicht: Back when eBay started, sellers really did have to list items one at a time—every time they listed, even if you were selling the same product over and over. They had to know HTML, they had to know how to load pictures into FTP space, they had to know how to use an FTP program, where to download the program, and once they got it on their computers, how to unzip the file and install it. The process was really complicated. Auctiva simplified it.
Miller: When I first started selling on eBay in 1999 it was slow going. I would feel proud of myself if I was able to list 15 items in one day. Having a tool like Auctiva to help with the listing process was a life saver. I never went back to listing directly on eBay.
Auctiva EDU: Were there particular features eBay sellers wanted at that time?
Schlicht: Yes, they wanted scheduling and counters—a way to see how many people were looking at the items they were selling. A lot of them didn't have any FTP space, so they needed storage space for their images if they had images, so we built that into our software, so sellers could use our storage. We were the first ones to do that for people selling on eBay. eBay didn't have image hosting, itself. To be able to select an image from your computer and easily upload it was huge.
Sellers also wanted templates and a way to differentiate themselves, and a way to save their listings and repost them without having to go back to eBay and retype everything. Back then, browsers didn't save anything, and there was no relist button. We take that for granted now.
We want to thank our customers for their loyalty, and tell them we appreciate their commitment to us over the years
Auctiva EDU: How has selling online changed in the past 15 years?
Schlicht: I think it's gotten more complicated. When we first started Auctiva in 1998, there weren't a lot of places to buy online. Now there's a lot more choices. All of the brick-and-mortars have their own online stores; everybody has an online presence. Back then that wasn't the case. If there was a product you wanted to buy and the manufacturer didn't have an online store, the only place you could go to buy the item was eBay.
Competition with other merchants and demand from buyers will continue to get higher, and the merchants who rise to the occasion will be the ones who succeed.
Auctiva EDU: How can sellers stand out from the competition?
Schlicht: I'd love to see sellers put more branding into their efforts, and I hope we can help them do that. They can also take good care of their customers, offering great value and service, and be mindful about the selection of their products and how they portray themselves in customers' eyes.
Auctiva EDU: Why have this contest?
Miller: We want to thank our customers for their loyalty, and tell them we appreciate their commitment to us over the years. We just wanted to do something nice for them.
Auctiva EDU: What are your hopes for the next year?
Miller: Just to keep up with the eBay changes that are coming, and continue to serve our customers the best we can, to continue to provide them the best eBay tools around.