What is Co-Pilot?

OpenSky launched our Co-Pilot program in August 2014 to leverage our team’s experience and proprietary technology to plan and execute all aspects of digital marketing for OpenSky merchants. This program has evolved and expanded to include recommendations for merchandising and promotional strategy development. It is our deepest partnership between OpenSky and merchants. In just a few months, we have become a marketing and merchandising partner to our most successful merchants. Co-Pilot merchants receive substantial support and collaboration from the entire OpenSky team. They are OpenSky’s preferred merchants and their businesses are growing.

Co-Pilot is Proven to Drive Sales

Of the 7,000 merchants on OpenSky, approximately 250 have been accepted to participate in the Co-Pilot program to date.  These merchants include 75 of our top 100, and we are working to help them grow to more than $100,000 in individual monthly sales throughout 2015.

Exclusive Benefits for Co-Pilot Merchants

  1. Advertising Optimization: OpenSky creates, manages and optimizes the marketing of Co-Pilot brands across Facebook, Google, Pinterest, and over 7,000 publisher websites. We charge 0% commission on all sales generated from these channels. All of these activities are optimized to drive NEW traffic, followers and conversions.
  1. Preferred On-Site Promotion: Co-Pilot merchants are preferentially featured on the OpenSky Homepage, Top 100 Products, Landing Pages, Recommended products and all other merchandised selections generated by the OpenSky Merchandising team.
  1. Merchandising Email Promotion: OpenSky sends personalized promotional emails and Mobile App notifications to millions of U.S. shoppers every day. Co-Pilot merchants receive guaranteed preferential placement in these emails and notifications. Today, for every $100 a merchant allocates to their Co-Pilot spend, they receive a minimum of 1 featured placement. (Merchants must be part of the OpenSky Credits program).
  1. Followers: Co-Pilot merchants are promoted to our most active OpenSky shoppers and are part of the “Merchants to Follow” program aimed at new OpenSky members.
  1. Dedicated Emails: Co-Pilot merchants receive placement in our promotional emails, which are sent to our most active 50,000 OpenSky shoppers.
  1. Database Matching: Co-Pilot merchants can match their databases with the OpenSky database and have all common customers automatically follow the merchant’s OpenSky store. This has proven to be a very effective “jump start” to build a large and engaged OpenSky following.
  1. Notifications: Co-Pilot merchants receive preferential distribution of their notifications during promotional events. For example, during Credit Events or other special promotions, Co-Pilot merchant promos are pushed first to their Followers.
  1. Reporting: Co-Pilot merchants receive detailed store analytics that include analysis of the complete sales funnel: Page Views, Add to Cart actions, Social Actions and Orders. We sent the first version of this out this last week, and more reports and recommendations are forthcoming.
  1. “We do it for you” Promotions: Co-Pilot merchants can elect to have OpenSky manage all of their monthly promotional activity. After establishing a calendar together, OpenSky handles all implementation and optimization to meet your goals.   (There is a a monthly fee for this service.)
  1. New Features: Co-Pilot merchants receive “first look” at new programs as they are developed. These include Twitter Commerce, LivingSocial Distribution, forthcoming Canada and international programs, and new features like, coupons, Guides, and OpenSky Select “Voucher” events.
  1. Customer Service: Inquiries from Co-Pilot merchant’s customers are automatically moved to the top of the queue of customer inquiries. We have put a dedicated team in place to manage these relationships.

How does Co-Pilot Work?

All OpenSky merchants are eligible to apply to be part of the Co-Pilot program. Application is free. Merchants who are accepted into Co-Pilot must allocate a minimum of $500 a month to marketing their goods off OpenSky and are expected to collaborate with us on promotions and events.

Go here to schedule a call about Co-Pilot

Co-Pilot: The Numbers Don’t Lie

Get serious about your marketing plan in 2015. Just like Laura did.

Chances are you’ve seen mentions of the Co-Pilot Marketing Program in your Merchant Toolkit and the Merchant Newsletter. Maybe you’ve heard that it’s our way to get your products in front of shoppers on Facebook and Google. Maybe you’ve heard that any sale that results from a Co-Pilot placement is 100% commission-free.

While both those facts are true, I think it would help to take a closer look at a merchant who’s seen an amazing return of her Co-Pilot investment: Bottled Up Designs.

bottled-up-designs1

Laura Bergman creates recycled, eco friendly jewelry from bottles found in the dumps of wooded habitats and rural farmlands in the Pennsylvania Amish County. She does this in an effort to remove this hazard from the environment and wildlife. Each piece includes “The Story of the Glass” detailing the history and age of the glass used.

bottled-up-designs2

As a one-person company, Laura joined OpenSky in October 2013 and found some success within our community. However, like all small businesses, she faced the continual challenge of getting her products in front of potential customers.

bottled-up-designs4

Laura and the Co-Pilot team allocated Bottled Up’s marketing spend across different channels on and off OpenSky to optimize for the greatest return on spend.

One month after starting Co-Pilot, Laura’s sales were up by 241%. Visits to her store increased by 233%.

How’d this happen? The Co-Pilot team tried different outlets including Facebook, Google, OpenSky, retargeting banners, etc. Our proprietary technology quickly iterated and doubled down on what was working and turned off what wasn’t. In Laura’s case, the key turned out to be Facebook. She saw an increase in loves, followers, and, most importantly, sales. Bottled Up is gaining momentum and Laura has had her hands full fulfilling orders.

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We’d love to help your business grow, too. Contact the team today to discuss the possibilities.

“I’ve been in advertising for many years. If you are scared about internet marketing, this is the perfect solution.”

— Laura Bergman of Bottled Up Designs

 

 

More Control Over Your OpenSky Promotions

Discounts + Credits? Now it’s your choice.

We’ve updated the posting tool to give you the ability to run promotions and control whether credits can be applied for additional savings.

The brand new posting tool

Previously, discounts have always “stacked” with credits, which could lead to some unexpectedly large price deductions.

By clicking the new button (shown above) when setting up a promotion, shoppers will be able to use credits on the products specified by that promotion. When that button isn’t clicked, shoppers can’t apply credits to your product(s).

Use this feature to boost your sales! Now that you have greater control, increase your participation in the Rewards Credit program. The program drives over 50% of sales on OpenSky, and larger percentages drive more sales and get more exposure during credit events. Increase your percentage knowing that other discounts won’t be combined!

OpenSky Launches Customizable Storefronts

OpenSky Launches Customizable Storefronts Powered by OpenSky

Manhattan — New York — November 5, 2014

OpenSky today announced the release of Storefronts powered by OpenSky, a new free technology that enables one-click launch of a fully functional e-commerce website.

“We are helping businesses grow by making it easier to sell online,” said John Caplan, OpenSky Founder/CEO.

OpenSky Storefronts are created in minutes by using product information extracted from the OpenSky marketplace. Inventory and product information are shared in real-time, reducing costs and time that merchants spend managing their inventory and product catalog across multiple channels. OpenSky Storefronts are free for existing OpenSky merchants. This allows businesses to shift money from web hosting and development budgets, to product development, promotion and marketing.

To learn more, please check out our FAQ.

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Merchants: You will be able to claim your Storefront via your Merchant Dashboard.

Claim Your Storefront

OpenSky Distribution Programs: Overview, Requirements, & Submission Forms

Distribution Programs: Overview & Requirements

OpenSky distribution programs afford OpenSky brands additional opportunities for sales and exposure on large, national retail platforms. This is part of our mission to help you grow your business both on and beyond OpenSky.

Brands that are chosen to participate in OpenSky distribution programs ship quickly, have beautiful product imagery, and can commit to the firm inventory requirements of our partners.

All distribution programs will require you to ship with 48 hours of receiving your order with a packing slip inside the box. If any brand fails to meet these requirements, they will not be invited to participate in future programs.

How you receive orders: All orders you receive from distribution programs will flow directly into your OpenSky dashboard, making fulfillment easy and seamless for you.

How you are paid: You will be paid within 40 days of receipt of the order.

LivingSocial: Overview

Products selected for LivingSocial distribution will be merchandised on LivingSocial.com for 14 days. Brands whose products are deemed a success by LivingSocial may be asked to participate in sales on a regular basis after the first run.

The LivingSocial distribution program is managed as a wholesale arrangement, which is different from the revenue share you regularly have with OpenSky. All orders are fulfilled via drop ship. You will provide us with your best wholesale price and your best retail price; from there, we will work with you and LivingSocial to price your item as competitively as possible to sell large volume.

We’re looking for products across all OpenSky categories. There are immediate opportunities for brands, and we are also planning up to 12 weeks in advance. So, if you are able to reserve the required inventory for a later date, you may submit for a future promotion.

Living Social: Requirements for Submission

– You must submit your best wholesale price available for the product you are submitting, taking into consideration the potential volume of the promotion.

– You must have a minimum of 1,000 units of the item, though we prefer items with upwards of 2,000 units.

– We will consider products across price ranges, but our focus is on goods that can drive $20,000+ in sales.

Submit your LivingSocial product here

OpenSky Fresh Finds, only at Sears: Overview

Within the next two weeks, we will begin an exclusive distribution program with Sears, one of the nation’s top 10 largest retailers. The program, called OpenSky Fresh Finds, only at Sears, will launch first on Sears.com, with dedicated in-store displays to follow shortly thereafter.

Sears has been a retail powerhouse for generations, and we are thrilled to be partnering with them to bring the Sears shopper OpenSky’s unique and inspiring brands.

Every week, OpenSky Fresh Finds, only at Sears will showcase a new collection of apparel, accessories, and lifestyle goods around one of the season’s exciting trends. The first three collections have been fully confirmed and are now closed, with the themes “Celebrate America”, “Love-a-Fair”, and “Rio.” Brands that were accepted into these first collections have been contacted, and will be informed of the confirmed launch date very shortly.

We are now accepting submissions for the next four collections.

Brands that are selected to participate in the OpenSky Fresh Finds, only at Sears program will ship orders using a Sears UPS account–Sears pays for shipping on all orders! In store, the OpenSky Fresh Finds, only at Sears displays will showcase several styles from the week’s featured collection. Customers will purchase products via tablet at the in-store display, and orders will be shipped to customers.

OpenSky Fresh Finds, only at Sears: Requirements for Submission

– In order to be considered for an upcoming OpenSky Fresh Finds, only at Sears collection, you must complete the OpenSky Fresh Finds, only at Sears submission form in full. You will complete one application per product.

– For each product you submit, you must submit a UPC code. If your product has variations (size, color, etc.) you must submit a unique UPC for each variation. If you do not already have UPCs for your products, you may buy them at http://buyabarcode.com.

– You must be able to offer a 20% discount on your product(s).

– You must provide us with your UPS account information (for address validation). Please note, Sears is paying for shipping.

– You must set aside a minimum of 20 units, but 50+ are preferable. The objective of the program is to introduce Sears’s national audience to OpenSky’s innovative brands—therefore, we’re looking for brands with sufficient inventory to cover a national audience.

Please review the inspiration images for the four summer collections we are currently composing–only products that fit these concepts will be considered for the next four collections:

os_FF_nextcoll_v031. Safari Chic: Think rustic, animal prints, khaki, army green, cargo, denim.
2. Away at Sea: Think light, easy & breezy, shades of blue and yellow, stripes, ocean motifs, sailor rope.
3. Mad for Metallics: Think preppy, feminine, metallic, polka dots, celebratory!
4. Funky Patterns: Think bold, playful, mixing prints and textures, edgy.

Ready to apply? Complete and submit your Sears Distribution form here.

*Please note that due to the volume of applications, we will only be able to follow up directly with brands that are chosen for these programs.*

Updates to Storewide Sales

Storewide sales have become very popular with shoppers (and merchants) on OpenSky since they were introduced a few months ago. We’ve gone ahead and implemented your feedback and suggestions to make storewide sales even better!

Added Features:

  • Share Storewide Sales from the Posting tool

Storewide sales have moved! They’ve left the promotions tab of the toolkit and moved into the posting tool. Now, when you’re selecting a product to post about, you can choose a storewide sale too!  Once your storewide sale is active, it will show up  in the active promotions section of the promotions tab in your toolkit.

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  • Broadcasting Storewide Sales to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin & More!

You can now easily broadcast your storewide sale to all your fans! Make sure you have a green check mark next to your marketing channels in order to share with the audiences you’ve built. We currently give you the ability to share to Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Time to make your storewide sale go viral!

  • Schedule Storewide Sale Start & End Dates

Just like individual product promotions, your storewide discounts will now have start and end dates. A great feature that comes with being able to set start dates is the ability to schedule a storewide sale to start in the future. Just hit cancel to end the storewide sale in the active promotions section.

Monday  5/12: The Storewide Sale Event

Now that you’ve seen all the improvements, let try them out! On Monday 5/12 OpenSky will feature stores that have set up a storewide discount. To participate, schedule a storewide discount at 25% off or more starting on Monday, 5/12 that ends in 48 hours. Please be sure to schedule your storewide discount by Thursday 5/8 EOD to be included.

3…2…1…OpenSky’s Birthday Countdown!

To celebrate the one year birthday of OpenSky’s Marketplace, shoppers will enjoy 9 days of amazing deals, specials, and promotions while we count it down to May 1.

IMPORTANT: This countdown is a surprise for shoppers, so keep it quiet!  But here’s a sneak peak so you have the 101 on how it’s all gonna work:

4/23- Day 1: Rewards Credit for Shoppers
4/24- Day 2: Rewards Credit (Day 2) + “Win $1000 OpenSky Shopping Spree” Member Sweepstakes
4/25- Day 3: Rewards Credit (Day 3) + Shoppers receive a special surprise
4/26- Day 4: Shop More, Save More – the more you spend, the more you save. Shoppers will be able to save up to 30% on their purchase via rewards credits delivered at checkout. This will be a one day, subsidized event with 10% of the discount funded by OpenSky!
4/27- Day 5: Sunday Splurge. Big time savings over 40% for 12 hours.
4/28- Day 6: Buy 1, Get 1 Collection. Shop BOGOs, BOHO and Gift With Purchase Promotions all day!
4/29- Day 7:  This one is a secret for everyone – check back for updates! :)
4/30- Day 8: Shop Today & Get Free Shipping for the Month of May
5/1- Day 9: Happy Birthday! A Super Secret Gift to All Shoppers!

Legal Basics For Your OpenSky Business, from our friends at Priori

The law has a serious impact on you as an online merchant—even if it’s the last thing you want to deal with.  We had our friends at Priori provide their best practices for some of the legal issues facing many emerging businesses. 

From protecting your creations against copycats to negotiating the best deals with vendors, getting legal right is crucial for your business. In the long run, investing in legal advice in the following areas can save you time and money.

1. Corporate Form. If you’ve never filed any paperwork to establish your business, you are probably running a sole proprietorship or partnership. While that might seem easy in the short-term (especially if you also have a day job) you may want to consider establishing your business as an LLC or corporation to minimize liability and protect your personal assets. A lawyer can evaluate your particular situation and recommend which arrangement is best for you.

Request your corporate lawyer today.

2. Vendor Agreements. As your business grows, you’ll probably work with a range of vendors to produce goods or source different materials. Lawyers help minimize the risks of these relationships by offering expertise in:

  • Drafting. Lawyers can create versatile templates for vendor agreements to allow deals and decisions to be made quickly, while limiting risk and liability.
  • Negotiating. Lawyers can advocate to remove detrimental clauses (example: impossibly short delivery time-frames) and achieve a better price overall.
  • Resolving Conflicts. When a dispute arises, it is imperative to seek legal advice quickly in order to assess your obligations and options for resolution.

3. Employees and Independent Contractors. If you hire employees or work with independent contractors to design, produce or sell your goods, lawyers can help with:

  • Drafting. When you hire employees or work with independent contractors, a lawyer can craft high-quality agreements that are tailored to your business. For example, a lawyer can help make sure that you own everything that your employee or contractor creates, and can address how your employee or contractor can use or display those works.
  • Worker Classification. Misclassifying someone who functionally is an employee as an “independent contractor” can be extremely costly. A lawyer can advise you on the rules and regulations for working with independent contractors to make sure you don’t wind up on the wrong side of a big tax bill.

Request your employment lawyer today.

4. Brand Protection. When you sell product online for the world to see, it is particularly important to protect your intellectual property from competitors and retain rights in your innovations. Consulting a lawyer can help you better understand your rights and what innovations you need to protect.

  • Trademarks. Any word, symbol, or phrase used to identify and distinguish your company’s products can receive federal registration and protection. As you establish your business with customers, you’ll want to protect your unique name and logo so you can build your brand.
  • Copyright. A copyright protects “original works of authorship.” While you do not need to file with the U.S. copyright office, it is recommended and might give you a leg up if there is an issue later. A lawyer can help guide you understand what to copyright and how to do it.
  • Patents. If your business has invented a non-obvious and novel product or business method, you could receive federal patent protection.
  • Copycats: Infringement. If you notice someone has co-opted all or part of your work, a lawyer can help guide you through the process of getting them to remove the infringing work—from a letter, hopefully, to litigation, if necessary. On the other hand, if someone has unjustly accused you of infringing, a lawyer can assist and protect your brand.

Request your intellectual property lawyer today.

Priori’s network of vetted lawyers have specialized experience handling these and any other legal issues your business may face. Request a lawyer through Priori for free, plus receive 50% off the Priori fee by mentioning OpenSky.

Learn the Lingo: OpenSky Promotional Events

OpenSky hosts innovative promotional events in order to drive more exposure and sales to Merchants. These Promotional events are a great way to bubble up savings to shoppers, and as result, get repeated periodically.

The newly-introduced Pitch Your Promotion form gives you an easy way to share your Promotional events with the OpenSky team so you can be considered for placement. Before you submit your best promotions, take a moment to walk through what it takes to qualify for some of our regularly scheduled events:

1) Sales Ending Soon

This email sends at the end of each day and includes sales that are active on the site but ending within the next 24 hours. There are a variety of factors that come into play here, but products with the larger discount will weigh heavy in the algorithm.

2) Sunday Splurge

The Sunday Splurge is one of the most highly shopped emails of the weekend (and the week). If you’re looking for a great way to boost sales and get your product in front of a large audience, this is a great event to apply for.

The requirements are simple:

  1. Products must be discounted a minimum of 40% off
  2. Minimum inventory of 10 units
  3. Sale will last for 12 hours, noon to midnight EST.
  4. Only one product per merchant will be accepted

Apply now for this week’s Sunday Splurge.

3) Lunch Time Rush

The Lunch Time Rush is quick and exciting promotion only lasts two hours — regularly between 2pm and 4pm ET. Products must be discounted by 20% and sales must end at 4pm ET.

4) DoorBusters- #doorbuster

Regularly, doorbusters exceed a 70% discount in some sort of a limited quantity. Doorbusters are meant for exactly what they sound like, getting customers in the door. As a result, they tend to be products with a much lower margin – effectively a marketing expense to get traffic to their store.

5) Buy One, Get One- #bogo

Commonly referred to as a BOGO offer, Buy One, Get One free sales are a great way to communicate sales messaging that includes the word “free” – this is bound to get someone’s attention every time. But be careful – not every item is a candidate for a BOGO sale. Do people really need two navy blue winter jackets?

6) Buy One, Get One Half Off

The cousin of BOHO is the commonly used Buy 1, Get 1 Half OFF sale.  It has a similar effect on the shopper on the BOGO, and is a bit kinder to your margin.

7) Gift With Purchase

This is a BOGO deal in disguise, and with more flexibility.  Think for the shopper and give them the opportunity to buy one item, and get a little something extra as an added bonus for buying.  If you sell Pancake Mix, throw in some Syrup for free. If you sell a necklace, throw in an affordable pair of earrings for free.  Give shoppers the nudge they need to buy in the moment.

8) Storewide Sale

Our Storewide Sales sales data suggests that these notifications have the potential to perform roughly 4x better then an individual product sales alerts. A Storewide Sale gives customers more choice and selection, while still driving home the impact of a limited time discount.

Ready to participate in one of these promotions? Check out the Pitch Your Promotion form to get featured.

*It’s important to remember that standard OpenSky exposure requirements still apply. If you’re interested in what basic requirements are needed for a product to be promoted by OpenSky please check out this article.

The Spring Friends and Family Sale

The weather is getting nicer by the day and you know what that means: Time for spring shopping!

Many of our friends and family members will need new sandals, clothing, outdoor serving and entertaining pieces, and more. Let’s help our favorite people spring into the new season in style with a Friends and Family coupon code.

When you invite anyone to OpenSky and they join through your link (OpenSky.com/STORENAME) they’re tagged as your member in our system. That means that this member and all purchases they make from you will be free-free for LIFE! (we even pay for the credit card fee!)

In addition, you’ll also receive 10% of what they spend when they shop from other merchants for the first year they’re on OpenSky (this comes from OpenSky’s commission).

So, you’ll actually be earning more money on those sales than you would have from your own website–and you’re helping to support another OpenSky business in the process!

Here are the details:

What:  The Friends & Family Coupon Code Promo
When: April 13th-April 23rd (leading up to the one year anniversary of the OpenSky marketplace)
How to participate: read below

Step 1: Select your discount and create a coupon code by going to your toolkit.

Step 2: Share it on social media sites and to your mailing lists. Tell your friends and family.

Step 3: Email merchant.success@opensky.com with:

      • The link to your shop
      • Your coupon code
      • The discount you’re offering.

Then Merchant Newsletter scheduled for Wednesday, April 16th will include all of the Friends and Family Coupon Codes that merchants have created, to date. All brands will have one week to shop with these discounts from their fellow merchants. Do your part to support your fellow Merchants!