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SellHound Aims to Take the Tedium Out of Online Selling

SellHound's Suzanne Wouk
SellHound's Suzanne Wouk
SellHound’s Suzanne Wouk

SellHound offers services to take the tedium out of selling fashion items online. We checked in with founder Suzanne Wouk to learn how SellHound’s apps can serve as “virtual assistants.” She also talked about selling trends and shares some tips that any seller can use to optimize their listings.

The thrill of hunting for treasures to sell online is undeniable, but a lot of tedious work goes into listing those products online. SellHound is offering services that can help sellers reduce their piles of “inventory” and get them listed and sold on eBay and other venues. The more effort you expend in preparation, the better the chances your item will sell quickly at an optimum price.

Suzanne Wouk likens her services to a virtual assistant (VA) but without the grueling process of hiring, training, and potentially firing people.

It’s an ambitious plan to scale services at a price point that will be palatable to sellers (note that some SellHound apps are free), but Wouk is motivated by something besides her entrepreneurial spirit. Over 80% of used fashion that is donated to thrift stores ends up in a landfill instead of being recycled, reused, or resold, she said. It’s clear she wants to help change that.

And while some may scoff at younger generations for taking a different approach to possessions than their parents and grandparents, Wouk sees the sense in their attitudes towards “stuff.” She points out that with the internet, it’s no longer difficult to find and replace things that we cherish, so people don’t have to stockpile possessions.

SellHound is currently focused on fashion. “We do best with items that are branded from the last 40 years,” she said. “We are not appraisers of highly collectible fashion items. We can still create the listing, but for true collectables or antiques, we recommend to seek out professional appraisers.”

Wouk plans to add additional categories and marketplaces in the future, but feels strongly about the need to focus on fashion. “Fashion makes up over half of all secondhand item traded online.” And, she added, “fashion manufacturing, production, distribution and disposal is an environmental nightmare. Reselling fashion is the most sustainable thing you can do with it.”

SellHound Fetch Engine
SellHound Fetch Engine is the first price comparison for secondhand items, Wouk said. “You can search for ANYTHING, new or used, and we will serve back the average Currents and Solds (when available) from 5 – 10 marketplaces (available both on desktop and app).” It’s free on the desktop and the app.

SellHound Virtual Listing Assistant App
With SellHound, sellers snap a few photos of their item using the app, and the company creates the listing. “From the photos, we identify the item, do the research, create a highly optimized listing which includes title, description, item-specifics, pricing and shipping suggestions,” Wouk said.

The seller reviews the listing SellHound prepared and can make changes, then the seller can click “post” to have the item listed directly onto their eBay account using eBay’s API.

SellHound charges a $1.44 – $2 fee per listing (depending on the pack), and the first three listings on the Virtual Listing Assistant app are free. SellHound will be adding more marketplaces soon – you can watch a video to learn more via YouTube.

Using Real People Plus Technology
SellHound hired a team of eBay fashion sellers who are trained in its system to create the listings. Wouk said a backend platform that includes image recognition and automation tools helps support the operation. “We are also developing and training our own AI/ML (Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning) network that will speed up the process and give us the ability to scale quickly,” she said.

Optimizing Listings to Sell
Wouk said SellHound uses best practices to optimize clients’ listings. “We follow eBay’s and Google’s title and listing recommendations so our listings will appear high up in search.”

Creating descriptions that are mobile friendly is also important, and SellHound provides recommended optimal prices based on searches for the same or similar item in sold and current listings.

“Since many of our sellers cross-post to other marketplaces, we send them a copy of the entire listing in email format so they can easily copy and paste to other marketplaces,” Wouk explained. “In the future we will have the ability to post to multiple marketplaces directly from the app.”

We asked Wouk to share some tips on optimizing listings, and she provided the following three:

Tip 1: Optimize for Google as well as eBay
“When writing titles for Google in mind, sellers should put the most important keywords at the beginning of the title. Google only displays around 50 – 60 characters in their titles as opposed to an eBay listing which is up to 80 characters. So the seller wants to make sure that the most relevant information about the item is seen in the Google search. Google recommends leading with brand, gender, product type and style.”

Tip 2: Use relevant keywords to describe the style
“Many sellers don’t know the correct fashion terms which greatly hurts their listings. For example, if you are selling a peplum style top, but don’t use the word “peplum” the buyer who is looking for that top will not find your listing.”

Tip 3: Insert keywords in titles that will help shoppers find your item
“Try to use all the characters in the title (80) with words that a buyer might use to find your item. I like telling sellers to think about what keywords would someone use to find their item if they saw it being worn the night before? What is unique about that item? Besides being black leather pants, for example, are there straps or any embellishments? These would be important keywords.”

We asked Wouk about trends she is seeing on eBay. “There seems to be a trend on eBay for sellers to open multiple stores with multiple product lines,” she said. “Many of our sellers ask us how to “switch” eBay accounts or eBay stores. Sellers are creating their own unique stores to market different kinds of products to different customers.”

She said she’s also seeing a lot of new items being listed, which she attributes to the popularity of the retail arbitrage movement.

“Half of our demographics are Millennials/GenZs, and we are seeing a trend of younger sellers entering the business of reselling,” she said.

We also asked Wouk if sellers were finding success on other marketplaces beyond eBay. “The new “revolution” in reselling is diversification,” she said. “You can sell your handcrafts on Etsy, high fashion on RealReal, sneakers on Goat, and almost anything on eBay. If you are a social seller, Poshmark is your game.

“It’s the Wild Wild West of diversification and niche marketing‚Ķ, of posh parties and social media platforms evolving into selling platforms.

“Sellers are not only selling individual items but are selling box loads of wholesale used items to other sellers who don’t want to hunt for inventory. Marketplaces like ThredUp have joined the trend and also sell wholesale boxes of used fashion items to resellers.”

“It’s an exciting time for sellers,” Wouk said. You can visit SellHound.com for more information.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.