Product Reviews Are Coming Back! Plus, Win $50 & See Your 2015 Sales Figures

Product Reviews Ahead

Plus, where to get your 2015 sales figures and our survey that can literally pay off

Product reviews are a great way to foster trust among the shoppers who love exploring the unique finds you offer at OpenSky, so we’re working to add this feature back to the site. See details below.

And let us guide you to the spot in your Merchant Toolkit where you can see your sales figures for 2015 broken down by month. Need another reason to read? Take our quick survey and you’ll earn a chance at a $50 Visa gift card.

The Reviews Are In

We’ve been collecting product reviews from shoppers since October. Late last year we ran a test and showed reviews to a portion of our visitors. Now we’re working to make reviews visible to all shoppers.

Next week we’ll release a feature that sends you an email containing all the reviews your products received in the previous 24 hours. Your reviews will look like this:

We encourage you to use the email you get to:

  1. Actively monitor your reviews.
  2. Respond to those reviews.

Want to know more? See full details and how you can respond to product reviews.

X Marks the Spot

With tax season up ahead, you may be wondering how much you made in sales last year. Not to worry. We have your back.

You can easily request your Payment and Tax Report for 2015 to see:

  1. All the payments you received last year
  2. All the sales tax you collected in 2015

Plus, these figures are all broken down by month for added convenience.

Where do you request your report? From the “Payments” section of your “Account” page in your Merchant Toolkit.

It’ll take us a few minutes to create the report for you, so we’ll email you once it’s done. Then you can download it as often as you’d like.

Take Our Survey & You Could Win $50

We’re working on a new blog that will help you grow your business and reach new heights. Take a minute to tell us about yourself and the issues that concern you in our short survey. This will help us cover the topics that matter most to you—and it could pay off, literally!

If you take the survey by February 13, 2016, you’ll earn a chance to win a $50 Visa gift card. Be sure to check it out and good luck!

Take the survey now!

From Auctiva EDU & The OpenSky Merchant Blog

Edit Your Images Like A Pro

Creating consistency is key.

Andy Bonnenfant

You’ve probably been taking product photos for years. But what if your shots don’t come out exactly as you had imagined? How do you create consistency? Let’s take a look.Read Story

Relax! Don’t Catastrophize

Thrive by living in the moment.

By Brad and Debra Schepp

Catastrophizing, or assuming the worst case scenario will occur, is a problem that plagues many online merchants. See how to stop this massive energy and time-waster! Read Story

Merchant Newsletter | February 4, 2016

Do You Add the 1 Attribute Every Product Needs?

Don’t Miss This Key Product Detail

Plus, take the pain out of tax returns, end that negative self-talk & more

We have tons of projects in the works to help your business reach its limitless potential in 2016. But you can do one really important thing on your own to provide a good shopping experience: Enter accurate item weights.

Our Customer Support Team uses product weights to generate return shipping labels when a shopper requests a return.

If a product doesn’t contain an accurate weight, we run into two problems that shoppers hate:

  1. The shopper requesting the return may not be able to ship the item back to you because the return shipping label we send them (based on the item weight entered) is insufficient.
  2. The shopper may have to pay for the additional postage to return the item.

Avoid disappointing your shoppers and take the time to review your item weights. It’s an important detail that can turn first-time buyers into lifelong customers.

Partner Spotlight: TaxJar

TaxJar makes sales tax compliance simple by taking the pain out of reporting and filing your sales tax returns. Get started by giving yourself a quick and painless Sales Tax Compliance check up for 2016. Then start your 30-day risk free trial of TaxJar today!

From Auctiva EDU & The OpenSky Merchant Blog

Stop The Negative Self-Talk

Why it’s bad for your business and how to end it

By Brad and Debra Schepp

Do you see failure lurking behind every corner? As a small-business owner, if you do, you may be hurting your business. Read Story

Why Shoppers Abandon Their Carts

See how you can get them back.

By Brad and Debra Schepp

The term “cart abandonment” makes many online sellers a little queasy. Orphaned carts represent lost income. Why do shoppers abandon their carts? We talked to a few experts to find out. Read Story

Merchant Newsletter | January 28, 2016

How to Stop Negative Self-Talk

negative-self-talk-os-blogDo you see failure lurking behind every corner?

If so, there are two issues at play. First: negative self-talk. Second: what psychologists call catastrophizing or thinking that something is far worse that it is.

We catastrophize and are negative self-talkers, ourselves. As a small-business owner, if you are, too, you’re less effective. Your creativity drags like molasses in winter and your overall output drops, too.

To help, we spoke with psychologists and other therapists for advice on dealing with these issues.

Read the entire article on Auctiva EDU.

What One Man’s Learned in 15 Years of Selling Online, Part 2

selling-wisdom-p2-osAs you may remember from the first part of our interview with Drew Friedman, an experienced e-commerce merchant and president of White Mountain Trading Company, in the more than 15 years Friedman has been running the business, he’s seen many changes and has had to adapt to keep his company going.

Here he shares his thoughts on marketing and the markets he uses, as well as advice for merchants who are just starting out.

The twists and turns of selling

Schepp: What are your thoughts about the big marketplaces where you market your items?

Friedman: We are still on eBay and have been for nearly 16 years. Briefly, after our move across the country, our eBay effort was scaled back considerably as we reconfigured our business. We also saw a tremendous downturn in the upscale product categories, where we had built our earlier reputation.

Read the entire article on Auctiva EDU.

What One Man’s Learned in 15 Years of Selling Online, Part 1

years-of-wisdom-osWhen we met Drew Friedman in 2006, he’d already been a successful eBay seller since before the turn of the century. Friedman, the president of White Mountain Trading Company, buys and sells Mount Blanc specialty pens and other high-end merchandise.

His background of more than 20 years in business was a help when he started his e-commerce business, but as anyone who’s been doing this for such a long time knows, that didn’t mean there weren’t challenges, changes and plenty of turns in the road in his journey.

Sales background starts merchant off right

Schepp: What did you do before you got into e-commerce, and how does that experience help you as an online merchant today?

Friedman: I was the national sales manager for a manufacturing firm traveling all over Canada and the U.S. When hired in 1998, I was charged with figuring out how the Internet and e-commerce were going to help increase our sales and decrease our selling costs.

Read the entire article on Auctiva EDU.

Be of Good Cheer: Affirmations for busy holiday sellers

Yogood-cheer-osu’re going, going, going all through the busy holiday season. If sales are up and your process is running smoothly, you surely have a friendly wind at your back.

But what if things are a bit bumpy? What if you’re working yourself in circles but aren’t getting the results you want? When failed expectations combine with the holiday flurry, you could be in danger of going full-on Scrooge before the season is over.

Relax, and remind yourself of a few things that will prove you’re doing better than you realize and that you’re in full control. Here are some happy thoughts, if you will, that you should run through your mind during this most challenging season of the year.

“I’m using a schedule to use the time as best I can.”

One of the most common stresses of the season is the demand on time. You’re working to an immovable date (for whatever it is you celebrate), and there’s no rescheduling it.

Read the entire article on Auctiva EDU.

Why Shoppers Abandon Their Shopping Carts

abandoned-cart-osThe term “cart abandonment” makes many online sellers a little queasy. Orphaned carts represent lost income.

But that income may or may not be lost forever. The purchase could occur down the line or the item(s) will simply remain in the shopping cart.

Why do shoppers abandon their carts? We talked to several experts, who shared some common causes and told us how you can curve cart abandonment as much as possible.

So, what are the reasons?

Adi Bittan, co-founder and CEO of OwnersListen, a site that lets business owners communicate directly with their customers, says one reason shoppers abandon their carts could be that they don’t have enough information to make a confident purchase.

Read the entire article on Auctiva EDU.

What You Can Learn From The Holiday Shopping Season

holiday-lessons-osThe 2015 holiday shopping season is here and, more than ever, people are talking about all the shopping they’re doing online.

But how are brick-and-mortars doing these days and what trends can we discern from the shopping season so far?

We took our Santa caps off for a moment and replaced them with thinking caps to find out. Here’s what we learned.

Why bust a door?

ShopperTrak, which claims to be the leading tracker of shoppers and “consumer behavior insights and location-based analytics,” estimated brick-and-mortar retail from Thanksgiving to Nov. 29 yielded about $20.43 billion in total sales—an estimated 10.4 percent decrease compared to 2014.

Read the entire article on Auctiva EDU.

Merch Agreement Updates Mean New Paydays & More

Important Changes to Our Merchant Agreement

Plus a service that simplifies sales tax compliance

Changes to our Merchant Agreement took effect on December 1—and you want to listen up. Updates affect:

  • When you get paid
  • How we determine late shipments
  • How we handle certain returns
  • And more

Read on for details and to learn about a great service that can help simplify sales tax compliance.

5 changes you need to know about

1. We now process payments on the 15th and the last day of every month, instead of the 10th and 25th.

This means that if you process orders from the 1st to the 15th of the month, you’ll get paid on the last day of the month. If you process orders from the 16th to the end of the month, you’ll get paid on the 15th of the following month.

Please keep in mind that banks take 2 to 3 business days to process payments.

2. We now use “prepared for shipment” dates to determine delinquent shipments.

Orders are “prepared for shipment” once a shipping carrier receives your request for a label, or once you mark an order “processed.” If you do both, we’ll use the date the carrier receives your request as the “prepared for shipment” date.

3. We have a new Declaration of Authentic Goods Statement. You may be asked to submit this if we need to verify the authenticity of your goods, or to ensure they don’t infringe on someone else’s rights.

4. We may ask for more info (including photos) to resolve situations in which you receive returns in un-resalable condition.

5. We can edit your listings to optimize them. Revisions will not change the product being sold or the amount you will receive in the event of a sale.

See full details on all our changes in our Help Center.

Partner Spotlight: TaxJar

TaxJar makes sales tax compliance simple by taking the pain out of reporting and filing your sales tax returns. Worried you’re not handling sales tax correctly? Never fear, TaxJar’s Sales Tax 101 for Online Sellers guide will answer your questions and put your mind at ease. Start your 30-day risk free trial of TaxJar today!

From Auctiva EDU & The OpenSky Merchant Blog

The Psychology Of The Sell

Think like the buyer you are.

By Dennis L. Prince

It doesn’t take a twirling gold pocket watch to get into the minds of your buyers and encourage them to buy more from you. Actually, there’s nothing very hypnotic about employing everyday psychology to sell more. Read Story

Business Blossoms On OpenSky

Amaryllis finds marketing partner, success.

By Brad and Debra Schepp

A night of mobile browsing led Ben Tabai to explore selling online. Today, he and his girlfriend and business partner, Anita Shokouhi, have a successful business, thanks in part to a great marketing partner. Read Story

Merchant Newsletter | December 2, 2015

Merchant Spotlight: Amaryllis

Ben and Anita copyBen Tabai operates Amaryllis on OpenSky with his girlfriend and business partner, Anita Shokouhi. Since they live a life so often attached to their cellphones, Tabai had become quite fascinated with mobile browsing as a way to pass the time, explore, feed his curiosity and inspire a business.

“The mobile-browsing phone is now an extension of our bodies,” he tells us. “Getting into e-commerce was a given to me.” The question that remained was simply, how?

“I was lying in bed one night and viewing Groupon Deals on my phone,” Tabai recalls. “I came across the ‘Goods’ section and saw items being sold in the thousands over a span of a few days. I already had prior experience with importing goods, so I thought, ‘Why not jump on this opportunity?'”

Tabai’s next step was to reach out to Sholouhi to discuss the idea of selling fashion products in large volume online, and that was how Amaryllis got its start.

Read the entire article on Auctiva EDU.