Merchant Newsletter 10/30

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OCTOBER 30, 2013

This Week on OpenSky

Hi Merchants,

October is winding down, and November is right around the corner: Hello, Holiday Shopping! Here’s this week’s update. Read carefully – some exciting announcements!

Fee-Free Holiday Contest – Updates, Tips & Tricks!

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Don’t Miss Out!: Exciting Press Event on November 7th

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Update: Fee-Free Contest Standings + Two Limited Time Offers

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Congrats to the Merchants in the Top 10!  Great Job! We had to post the top 50 merchants (listed at the end of this post) because the competition is sooo close! If you’re not in the top 50 you still have a good shot to win. Keep up the good work so you can ensure you place in the Top 10 at the conclusion of the contest!

This week, we’re adding a little Halloween treat to the contest, which should really help each participant make serious headway in driving their follower numbers.

Invited Followers Count Double!

From 10/30- 11/7 (last day of the contest) all followers that you originate through your OpenSky page will count double toward the Fee Free holiday contest! So this is the week you should be sending an email out to all your mailing lists and this is the week to be promoting on your other social media channels. Invite your friends, family and fans for the chance to win a commission free holiday season. No OpenSky fees, no credit card fees, 100% of every purchase will go to you. To review the rules check out the original blog post.

Need idea’s on how to gain followers? Click here for some more ideas

Advertise your Posts and OpenSky will split the cost!

Yup you heard us right.  When you sponsor a promotional post on facebook or twitter, OpenSky will split the cost on any approved post.   Take this as an example:

Cost of Sponsored Post on Facebook: $60
Merchant Pays: $30
OpenSky Pays: $30

Here’s how it works:

  • Send an email to merchantadsolutions@opensky.com of exactly what you’d like to do. Please include:
    • The image you will be using in your post
    • The OpenSky Everyday Price & Promotional Price
    • Duration of your Promotion
    • Comment or Caption of your Post
    • Cost of your Ad & Reach or Impressions
    • Why you decided to use this form of advertising?
  • Important Criteria for Approved Posts
    • All ads need to link to your OpenSky product, as selected in your posting tool
    • OpenSky must approve any advertisement before you run the ad in order to qualify for reimbursement
    • Once the ad runs, you must provide OpenSky with Proof of Cost
      • Send screenshot of Ad Summary from Facebook
      • Provide performance data on your ad (downloadable reports from your Advertising Service)
    • OpenSky will reimburse you for half the cost of the ad within 30 days

With these two programs together, you have the opportunity to win a Fee-Free Holiday season, pay half price on advertising, and increase your followers. It’s a win-win-win.

So now that we have upped the ante, who’s going to win this? Game on!

Here are the current standings from 10/15 to 10/29

Rank Merchant URL

1

sugar-knife

2

shoplulu

3

bootights

4

bottledupdesigns

5

funk-and-fabulous

6

baconery

7

soulku

8

crazydogtshirts

9

fashion-club-usa

10

olive-yew

11

hautechic

12

lilywang

13

paperscissorsrock

14

silver-continent-jewelry

15

notsoapradio

16

overstockart

17

pure-impressions

18

igourmet

19

lollique

20

good-societea

21

savor

22

yasujutaro

23

httpwwwetsycomshopnotwallpaper

24

zoe-and-piper

25

jessiegirljewelry

26

belleza-jewelry

27

tumericalive

28

delhutsondesigns

29

naturalskinshop

30

mimiscookiebar

31

latikasoap

32

onelifejewelry

33

skinny-coconut-oil

34

ayelet-naturals

35

moodysisters

36

rawrutes

37

lexi-lu-jewelry

38

nativeunion

39

hudiefly

40

naiad-soap-arts

41

old-factory-soap-company

42

rockhill-designs

43

the-alchemy-shop

44

healthycravings

45

dorotheasclosetvintage

46

tracy-anderson-method-studios

47

gourmet-kitchenworks-llc

48

2live2love

49

beipiatti

50

beautyaddicts

Holiday Press Event Announcement, November 7th

Happy Friday, Merchants!

I’m thrilled to announce that John and I are hosting a big press event on Thursday, November 7th at OpenSky global HQ. We will be showcasing your incredible products to important editors, bloggers, television producers and other VIP members of the press.

Confirmed press include: Today Show, The Rachael Ray Show, The New York Times, People.com, InStyle.com, US Weekly, Serious Eats, Apartment Therapy, and many more!

We’d love to feature your products — please send samples of your most incredible, most beautiful and spectacular, “wow” holiday gifting items to our office by end of day Monday, November 4th. We want the extraordinary.

I’m so excited about this program — we’re telling the world about your amazing goods! We’re here to help you grow your brands!

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Choose your most exciting goods.
2. Send us between 5 – 10 units of product. We are building super creative displays showcasing your goods.
3. Send them to this address:

Alyse Diamond
OpenSky
18 W. 18th Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10011
 
Important note: Goods may not be returned (if they are given to press or sampled). When we can return items, we will.

If you have any questions about this press event, please contact me atalyse@opensky.com

Thanks and all the best,
Alyse Diamond
Director, Communications
OpenSky
Holiday Press Event, November 7th

Broadcasting Posts + More Options to Sell on Facebook

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Share on your Facebook fan page or profile

The best way to increase your sales is sharing your daily posts with your followers on Facebook and Twitter. Now you can expand your marketing even more by sharing your posts on your Facebook timeline and your Facebook fan page.

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Select Facebook

Next time you post, click the Facebook Page Share Settings at the bottom of the list.
If you haven’t shared on Facebook yet, you’ll have click Facebook checkbox and log in first.

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Timeline & Fan Page

Choose your Facebook timeline and your Facebook fan page to reach the most people.
You can add & update pages whenever you post by clicking the Facebook Page Share Settings.

One post broadcasts to your followers, everywhere.

Share each post with your followers on OpenSky, Facebook and Twitter -it’s a quick step to connect all your networks.

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Learn more about posting in our Merchant Help Center.

Selling Customizable Products

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Do you have products that include customizations like inscriptions or personal messages? Want to stand out by taking special requests? Activate the new customization option in your product listings to ask your shoppers an open-ended question as part of their purchase.

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Activating a Custom Product

  • In your Toolkit you will see a new option in the Product Info section to allow Customizations for your product. (Step 1 when creating or editing aproduct)
  • Check the box, then enter a question or prompt for your shoppers.
  • You can turn customizations on or off at any time.

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Customer Requests in Each Order

  • Shoppers must answer your question when they purchase your product.
  • You’ll see the replies in your order details and packing slips.

Buying your products is still simple.

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Shoppers answer your question when they click to buy.

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Their answers stay visible when they purchase, just like variations.

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Order confirmations keep a record of their answers.

Update Your Products

How to use Smiles and Loves to Drive Sales

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The easiest way to brighten someone’s day is with a simple Smile, so be generous with them!  A Smile is a one-on-one way to show your support for a person’s action, so when a follower loves your product, you should smile at that action. You could also offer up a comment in response to this action as well; we suggest something more substantial than a simple “Thanks for loving my product.”  Why not share an interesting fact about the item or suggest the most popular colors for the product?  It’s your chance to make a sale!  Use the commenting tool to engage a customer who has Loved the product and start a conversation; don’t be surprised if you create a trusting relationship with your customer that eventually ends in a sale.

At the end of the day, every follower you have is a customer.

Here’s how this action would play out in a real-life scenario: You are selling at a farmer’s market and a stranger walks by to take a look at your products. They pick up the item, look at it, tell their friend how much they love it…but then put it down and start to walk away.  Your first reaction is to smile and look friendly, in case the potential shopper has questions or concerns, but your smile doesn’t prompt any questions from the shopper just yet.  Before they leave your booth, you offer up some enticing information about the item they were just looking at…and what do you know, you’ve grabbed their attention, they trust you, and they buy the item!

Additionally, when you create a new product, it’s important that you Love the item and make sure that all of your Followers know that they should Love it if they feel strongly about it, too!  When you click that heart button, you share your Love in the Feed to all of your Followers, and all of your Followers get notifications on OpenSky that someone they are connected to has shared a new post.

Use your loves to spread the word to all of your followers and use your smiles as a one-on-one way to let someone know you support the action they took. Take the next five minutes and head over to your feed and start talking to shoppers!

The 101 on Credits & Free Shipping

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What are Credits and how do they work?

Credits are short-term rewards we give to members periodically. The Credit value members receive vary.

Member can use Credits to reduce the purchase price of a product during Credit Events. (And don’t worry; merchants decide how much they’ll discount their products during these events).

All they have to do is opt in and select a Credit ceiling, or the maximum discount they’ll offer. For instance, if someone sets a ceiling of 50% and we run a Credit Event of 60% off, the products in that merchant’s shop will only be discounted 50% because that was the ceiling set.

Please note, when credits are used on one of your products, OpenSky commission will be taken from the post-credit total of that sale.

Participating in the Credits program is completely optional.  You can opt in or opt out by visiting the “Settings” section of your “Marketing” tab in your Merchant Toolkit. Although, it’s important to note that 90% of merchants participate in the program, as it can increase your sales by over 50%.

How do the free shipping promos work?

OpenSky will occasionally run sitewide free shipping promotions for a limited time. When you opt in to these, you agree to allow your products to ship for free during any sitewide promotion.

Do I have to opt in to Credits  & free shipping events?

No, participating is completely optional.  You can opt in or opt out by visiting the “Settings” section of your “Marketing” tab in your Merchant Toolkit.  Although it’s important to note that 90% of merchants participate these events, as they can increase your sales by over 50%.

Best Practices: Passively & Actively Gaining Followers

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Grow Your “Reach”: Passively & Actively Gaining Followers

Like other social media sites, a key to success on OpenSky is making sure you’re always growing your reach. On Facebook that’s “likes” and on Twitter and OpenSky that’s “followers”.  Essentially your “reach” is the number of people you can touch with the posts you create.

So now you get it, but how do you gain followers? How do you build your reach?  Here are a few basic tactics.

Passive Tactics for Gaining Followers

  1. Add your OpenSky link to the signature of your emails
    • Every time you send an email you could be passively marketing to people, effectively growing your following without trying.  Just add in a link to your OpenSky page in your email signature and prompt every person you communicate with to follow you.
  2. Add a “social icon” to your website
    • Anyone who comes to your site is clearly a fan. Get them to support you on social media and tell their friends. Adding a social icon is another form of passive marketing, that can work for you without having to do much.   In fact, don’t stop at your website – add an OpenSky logo next to any place you currently showcase other social icons linking to facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest, etc.
    • See how Hunny Bun did it:

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Active Tactics for Gaining Followers

  1. Post your OpenSky Link on all your social media platforms
    • Utilize your other social media platforms to get followers. When you post, give your followers a reason to also follow you on OpenSky.  Every merchant uses OpenSky a little differently, but here are a few common ways Merchants are using OpenSky.  By articulating the value of following, you’ll be helping yourself get people to understand why they need to follow you on OpenSky.  For example, merchants say,
      • “Follow me because…..
        • “I’ll be using OpenSky to exclusively release new products.”
        • “I’ll be using OpenSky to run exclusive sales. Follow me so you’re the first to learn about them.”
        • “I’ll be using OpenSky to sell exclusive products – items I don’t currently sell on my own website or other selling platforms.”
        • “I’ll be using OpenSky to share news and updates on our business, upcoming products and key announcements.
        • Take a look at the Pintrest board that Overstock Art added:

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  2. Send an email to your mailing list or add your OpenSky link into your newsletter
    • Your fans signed up for your newsletter for a reason! Update them on your OpenSky launch, and explain to them why they need to make sure they’re following you!
    • Take a look at Olive Yews email from last week.  There is clear value provided – follow and get access to some amazing sales – it’s that easy.

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Introducing #hashtags

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Use hashtags in your posts to get your products discovered. On OpenSky and other networks, more people are creating – and clicking on – hashtags to link their posts to categories. Leverage this trend to give your posts more exposure and increase sales.

What is a hashtag?

  • Hashtags are words that begin with the # symbol, like #jewelry or #sale
  • To create a new hashtag, click to add a ‘New Post’ at the top of your Dashboard or Feed, and include one or more hashtags in the comment section.
Post a Promotion
Click to view a great posting a few different hashtags.

Linking Hashtags

  • We’ll automatically link posts & products that share the same hashtag.
  • We’re beginning to display trending hashtags to shoppers, to help more people find you.
  • They also work on Facebook & Twitter, so share your posts!

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