The Dos and Don’ts of Selling on Melltoo

Are you posting on the app for the first time? Here are some tips for what (or more importantly) what not to do when you’re selling on Melltoo. Once you’re finished posting your item for sale, we will handle the headache of promoting, payment and delivery on your behalf. Selling secondhand in the UAE has never been easier!

 When “framing” the picture of an item you want to sell…

Make sure to:

  1. Take pictures using natural light
  2. Wear an item or use a model to showcase an item when possible
  3. Arrange the photo and item(s) so they are attractive


  1. Taking pictures at night
  2. Taking a picture with flash
  3. Taking pictures of multiple items at the same time





When choosing the background for the picture of an item you want to sell…

Make sure to:

  1. Use a table or a wall with a solid color as a background
  2. Use a hook to hang bags or clothes on a wall
  3. Clean the surface before displaying your items


  1. Taking pictures of your items on the ground or on a floral background
  2. Using a white background or a screenshot to advertise your item
  3. Using a dirty or reflective surface as a background




 When buying an item…ios-chat-to-buy-classifieds-dubai-app

Make sure to:

  1. Ask detailed questions about the item you’re buying
  2. Do research on the item and know it’s original price
  3. Negotiate a fair price with the seller


  1. Giving out financial information to sellers
  2. Asking for an unreasonable price on an item
  3. Don’t chat with a seller about an item unless you’re really interested in buying it




When selling your item…2

Make sure to:  

  1. Write a good description with lots of details
  2. Use relevant hashtags
  3. Set a reasonable price for your item


  1. Spelling mistakes and incomplete descriptions
  2. Asking for an unreasonable price for your item
  3. Selling counterfeit items


If You’re a Startup, Don’t Act Like a Business

This article was originally published on Wamda by Sharene Lee, co-founder of Melltoo.

It seems everybody has a startup these days. I’m the co-founder of, a social network that connects buyers and sellers in the second hand marketplace. It is a startup. Prior to founding Melltoo, I also co-founded and successfully exited two other businesses, a popular café in downtown Los Angeles, and an import-export company trading candies between Southeast Asia and Europe. Even though my co-founder and I built up those businesses from scratch, and exited them quickly and profitably, those businesses were not startups.

Contrary to popular opinion, technology does NOT a startup make. As a startup co-founder, it is important to understand what makes startups different from other businesses. Misunderstanding often leads to flawed business strategy that can be costly in the long-run.


More customers means more cooks.

An orientation toward growth and scalability

The major difference between startups and traditional businesses is an orientation toward growth. The reason why most startups are tech-oriented is because technology makes things scalable, which allows for growth. A scalable business can increase revenues without having to increase investment. An e-commerce site doesn’t require more staff to go from processing 10 to a 1,000 orders a day, unlike a restaurant which would have to hire an additional server and cook for every additional 100 orders. An orientation toward scalability and growth underpins all startups, everything else follows from there.

Business objectives: profitability vs. growth

The primary objective of a traditional business is to get to profitability as quickly as possible. At the outset, businesses work on growth, but as growth peaks, businesses turn to cutting expenses and increasing productivity to enlarge the bottom line. With startups, the primary objective is growth, often at the expense of profitability. Uber and Amazon are perfect examples, losing money in order to capture market share and crush competition.

Business metrics: COGS v CAC

In my restaurant and import-export businesses, I was watching my cost of goods sold (COGS) and expenses closely. They were the key metrics of profitability and hence were used to guide decision-making. Coffee supplier raising prices? Switch suppliers. Sugar taxes for a particular region too high, find a different way in. Today, with Melltoo, I’m watching my customer acquisition cost (CAC) and burn rate (amount of money being spent to keep the startup running). My focus is growth, so I need to maximize my resources and reduce my burn rate by finding the user acquisition channel with the lowest CAC and highest ROI (return on investment). While common business sense tells me I shouldn’t spend more on CAC than the LTV (lifetime value) per user, it is okay in the short run if it brings growth.

Capital financing: banks vs. venture capital

I hear endless complaints from startups about funding in the region. They complain about the difficulty in securing investment and general lack of money available for startups here. I definitely sympathize as we are currently raising our first round of external funding. Then, I recall my previous business endeavors. Not so long ago, rather than seeking funding from investors, we were seeking loans from banks. Loans require collateral and payback and a mountain of paperwork. By comparison, busy investors are much more fun to deal with than cranky bankers. While equity costs more in the long run than interest, owning 100% of nothing is still nothing, while owing 10% interest on anything is definitely a bad thing.

Dorothy (Abby Miller), Megan (Jessica Par?), Gigi (uncredited) and Allison (Alexa Alemanni)

In a tradtional business everyone knows their place.

People: team vs. employees

In traditional businesses, job positions are pre-defined roles that people fill. In startups, people create roles that they occupy. In traditional businesses, roles are designed so that they can withstand turnover. Someone quits, someone else is hired. In startups, when someone leaves, that role is largely destroyed to be recreated by someone else. In other words, startups are flexible organizations that change according to the people involved. This is particularly the case in early stages and continues on until the startup grows to a size where corporate structure becomes necessary.

Another fundamental difference: in traditional businesses, employees negotiate for the highest salary possible; in startups, team members are willing to sacrifice salary for equity, because they care as much about the startup as the founders do.

Product: move fast and break things (agile vs. waterfall)

When it comes to product, the differences between traditional businesses and startups is best understood in the comparison between the waterfall and agile model of software development. In the waterfall model (traditional businesses), each phase of development is completed, tested, and perfected before moving on to the next phase. The end-product is usually as good as it gets. In the agile approach, development goes forwards and backwards between phases. Planning phases are quick, but often get revisited mid-development when things don’t work. Features from different phases get developed in tandem and sometimes get thrown out altogether despite the plan. There is no such thing as an end-product, just a “latest” release. The first release tends to be less than perfect, then quickly followed up by subsequent releases that fix bugs and introduce new features.

Zuckerberg said it best: “Move fast and break things”. Because startups are growth-focused, they need to move fast, and in doing so, they break things and change directions. Product follows the “release fast, release often” model in order to stay flexible and truly respond to changing market needs and user feedback.

The speed at which business is changing today is why startups have become the dominant model of entrepreneurship. However, not all businesses are startups, not all businesses are created to grow fast and scale big. If you are running a startup, be sure not to run it like a traditional business or that’s what you’ll end up with.

Mobile Chat:The Ultimate Tool for CRM

Why mobile chat is worth $19 billion? 

When Whatsapp sold for $19 billion, there were collective gasps around the world. Why did Facebook pay so much for glorified SMS, that is neither email nor a voice call? And why are there so many mobile chat applications (Line, Viber, WeChat, Kakao, Kik, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and on and on); each with so many users? At Melltoo, we’ve always known the power of mobile chat and that’s why we built it into our app.

We believe that our in-app chat combined with our new Melltoo Pay&Ship Secure service (which allows us to handle payment and delivery on your behalf) makes for a very powerful shopping experience. But why is that? Mobile chat is not simply the ugly stepchild of email and voice calls; nor the cheap step-sister of SMS. It is the Cinderella of modern day communications; a whole new way of communicating, a singularity if you will. With chat, you combine the benefits of asynchronous written communication with that of synchronous voice communication.

Mobile chat puts SMS, emails, and voice calls to shame

Chat can take place “live” like a voice call; this allows for banter and quick back and fortemoticons_melltooh communication that effectively conveys meaning. Chat can also take place “offline”; parties don’t engage in real-time, but receive and respond to messages after some time has passed. This makes chat better than both emails and voice calls. Can you have an instant live conversation over email? Good luck looking through the tabs to figure out what was said previously. On the flip side, if you miss a call, can you answer it 2 hours later?

Mobile chat is much more than glorified SMS. Emoticons help convey the “body language” that is missing from written communications. (where’s the “thumbs up” emoticon when I need it?) The ability to send photos and videos makes communication “social”. You can share moments of your life in real-time. Unlike posting a picture to Facebook and getting ‘likes’ hours or days later, sending a picture via chat garners “awwww…that’s so cute!” responses instantly.

Mobile chat builds stronger relationships

Mobile chat is with you everywhere you go. You are never offline which means that you are always “close by”, just a message away. And even when you don’t respond, the other party knows that you will see the message eventually. The connection with your chat interlocutors is perpetual, which means you are closer to your chat friends than people you see in real life. Think about the co-worker who you see daily. Compare her with your ex-co-worker who you haven’t seen in years, but chat with regularly. Who do you feel closer to?

Chat is “low cost” not only financially, but mentally and emotionally as well. SMS costs an arm and a leg. Writing an email requires “Dear” and “Best regards” along with proof-reading and formatting. Making a phone call requires you to stop whatever else you’re doing. Chat, on the other hand, is low overhead. It’s (almost) free, and doesn’t require deep thought nor undivided attention. The quick and constant banter allows users to build up stronger relationships than would take place without chat. You can correct misunderstandings, elaborate, yell, thank, gush, and apologize; all in one conversation spanning just minutes. You also have the ability to re-read before sending, unlike saying something that cannot be unsaid. And you have the benefit of a chat history to revisit a conversation when necessary.

Chat for CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

The benefits of chat in a social setting are easily carried over to a business setting. Chat is the ultimate tool for customer relationship management.

Never miss a customer’s call

Gone are the days when customers would patiently wait on hold for service. These days, they won’t call to begin with, they’ll go straight to Twitter or Facebook because calling is just too high in overhead. Hence, when a customer’s call is not answered, you’ve lost the customer; because he called your competitor when he wasn’t able to reach you. Only a highly motivated customer would call back. With chat, even if you weswitchboard operator_melltoore not online when the customer sent the message, once you see the message, you can re-engage with the customer who might have all but abandoned. Think about it: how many phone calls can you answer at the same time? Now think about how many chat conversations you can have at the same time.

By the way, people are less upset when a chat response is delayed than when a phone call goes unanswered. This is because they had to make time to call you, setting aside existing tasks. With chat however, they didn’t have to invest much effort and the “internet down” excuse is still valid today. Interestingly enough, before I call someone, I usually send a chat message first asking if she’s available to talk on the phone. And after I’ve sent an email, I inevitably follow up by sending a chat message telling the receiving party to check his email.
Keep track of customer requests

If you are a salesperson dealing with multiple customers throughout the day, one of the greatest challenges is to keep track of who said what. With chat, all that is said can be retrieved from your chat history. Your own words are also recorded, which means less chance of error and misunderstanding. Ever “accidentally” quote someone a higher price than what was previously quoted?

Know exactly what customers want

A picture is worth a thousand words. A video is worth a million. And chat is worth $19B! Imagine you are a wedding planner at your florist, about to order table centerpieces for a client. This client happens to see a bouquet centerpiece that she’s decided she absolutely must have for her wedding. She snaps a picture and sends it to you instantly. You adjust your order accordingly and it’s done. Imagine the same scenario over the phone or via email. Your client probably wouldn’t have been able to properly describe what she saw and if she had sent an email with a photo attachment, you would have seen it only after ordering the centerpieces.

Build Human Relationships

Chat is familiar and comfortable. It puts people at ease as much as face-to-face communications make people uncomfortable (is there spinach in my teeth?). This means that in a relatively short time, sales people can establish a stronger relationship with customers; and relationships are what bring customers back.If you are not already using mobile chat for CRM, then you’d better start. At Melltoo, we are so convinced by mobile chat that we built it into our app. Not only can you buy and sell quickly and socially on Melltoo, it’s built upon the most engaging technology of today–mobile chat!