Here Come the Holidays, Part 1

here-comes-the-holiday-part-1-os

Most people have plenty of time before they have to start thinking about the holidays, but you and other online sellers just have a few more weeks to get ready for that jolly time of year.

“Hopefully, you have already purchased and planned your holiday season inventory,” says Larry Phillips of 4stampsales.com when we asked him for advice about what e-merchants should be doing to get ready. Anyone who takes on the role of “holiday provider” will tell you that the first step is planning. The next step is getting the house in order.

Trusting that you already stocked your shelves, we’ll turn our attention to ordering and structuring those shelves—and every other part of your operation—in this 2-part series. Let’s get started.

First, the physical

“Go through your inventory,” recommends longtime eBay seller Cie Bay. “Make sure everything that is listed can be quickly and easily found. Make sure your listings are up to date.”

With your inventory in order, Cie Bay recommends focusing on shipping supplies and processes. “Stock up!” she says. Boxes, tape, poly bags, whatever items you use to get your items to your customers should be in your house very soon if they aren’t in your home already.

“If you use inserts, thank you notes, etc., make sure you have plenty on hand,” she continues.

Dimira Teneva of Metrilo.com offers consulting services to online retailers. She recommends planning the details now.

“Make arrangements for guaranteed shipping with your partners well in advance,” she suggest. “Get on the same page about the absolute latest time possible for placing an order and getting it delivered before the holiday.”

Cie Bay also suggest looking at your staffing. “If you’re able, hire an assistant,” she continues.

If you bring in help now, you’ll have weeks of experience working together when the rush hits and you’ll know if you have enough support, or need more help.

“The holiday season is extremely busy, and once those ‘cha chings’ start rolling through, you won’t have time for anything but getting those goodies packed and shipped,” Cie Bay tells us.

She also suggests letting your postal carrier and local post office staff know how much you appreciate their extra workload during your busy season. That added touch could prove helpful when you start shipping like crazy.

Look at the details

With your inventory, shipping supplies and staff at the ready, it’s time to market your business, so shoppers remember you when they’re looking for that perfect something for their special someones.

“Create a content calendar for both your social media and blog,” recommends Mallory Musante of Boldandpop.com.

Selling expert John Lawson agrees. But his recommendations go a little further.

“Start making your marketing calendar,” he advises. “Detail what offers you plan to make on what days going into the holiday sale cycle.” And be sure to “review last year’s data, specifically pay attention to inventory velocity, time frames of the season, best sales days, and slowest days.”

With the information in hand, you can come up with a plan for your most-likely busy and slow weeks. “Finally, be sure not to forget the lesser-known shopping days like Small Business Saturday, Free Shipping Day, Green Monday, etc.,” he adds.

Linking your promotions to already established “special” sales days, gives you free advertising and reinforces your image as a professional business.

Ensure the important stuff works

The final detail to address has to do with the mechanics of your payment mechanism and ordering process.

“Now is the time to make sure everything is working properly,” Phillips notes. “Go through the motions of purchasing something from yourself, up to and including the checkout.”

Some sellers stop when they’re asked for payment.

“That is the most important part!” he reminds us. “Remember, an abandoned cart means that a buyer took the time to commit to buy and stopped after that commitment.”

By making this purchase for yourself, you can see first-hand if there is a problem with your process that you, as the seller, would be unlikely to discover.

“Next, ask 3 friends or relatives to make a purchase from you,” he continues. “Have 1 very novice Internet purchaser, 1 occasional user and 1 experienced purchaser shop. Get their feedback, and then make any changes necessary.”

Or contact the marketplace where you sell (eBay, OpenSky, Amazon, etc.) and mention the problems your friends encountered.

Part 2 of this series will look at ways you can make your site, listings, packages, and customers feel the holly, jolly holiday spirit! Stay tuned.

New ‘Orders’ Page, Make Your Products Our MVPs, Capture the Perfect Angles & More

 

The “Orders” page got a facelift this week. See details below. Plus, learn about OpenSky Certified products and how your items can achieve that coveted status. We’ll also give you helpful tips on how to take your product photography to the next level and more.

Streamlined ‘Orders’ Page Debuts

Checked out the new, streamlined design of the “Orders” page? It shows all your OpenSky, Twitter and LivingSocial orders (if you sell there) together on the “Review,” “Pending,” “Processed,” “Delivered,” and “Canceled” tabs. We no longer separate orders depending on where items sold.

The result? A better looking page that loads faster!

Be sure to take a look. You’ll like what you see. But don’t worry; none of the functionality on the page changed. You still process orders the same way you always have.

Make Your Products Our MVPs

Heard of OpenSky Certified products? They’re our MVPs—and shoppers know to look for them.

These products have a proven track record of shopper satisfaction and quality, and are easy to identify. They all proudly display this easy-to-spot bright blue badge:

It lets shoppers know at a glance that the product they’re viewing:

  • Ships quickly from a top merchant
  • Gets the highest product ratings
  • Is a popular product with a minimum of 100 orders
  • Has the lowest return rates
  • And has been approved by our Quality Assurance Team

You can’t pay to have your products certified, but providing accurate descriptions, shipping quickly and selling quality items can go a long way in achieving this coveted status. And with the holiday season just around the corner, selling OpenSky Certified products could be a real benefit.

Get Their Good Side

You already know that a picture really is worth a thousand words when you sell online. But you may not be getting your product’s good side.

So keep these tips in mind the next time you pull out your camera to capture your products’ full glory:

  1. Products look best when photographed from a straight-on view or from directly above.
  2. Center the item in the frame and provide sufficient open space around the product.
  3. Give the shopper multiple views of your product and some up-close shots that show important details.
  4. Keep products in context so shoppers understand the general size, scale and use of your product.

Here are a few killer examples that should help:

Get more tips in our new quick-start Guide to Selling on OpenSky.

From Auctiva EDU & The OpenSky Merchant Blog

Had Your Checkup Lately?

Take stock to finish the year strong.

By Dennis L. Prince

Guess what? The year is more than half gone. Went fast, didn’t it? The second half will go even faster. So take a minute to see how you’ve done so far and how ready you’ll be to energetically tackle the last—and busiest part of 2016. Read Story

Merchant Newsletter | September 9, 2016

Important Changes to Returns Just Hit! Plus, Boost Insights, How to Write Killer Product Names & More

 

It’s official: Most merchants must now accept returns. See details below. Plus, get the scoop on upcoming Boost insights, learn about a new platform that can simplify product management and learn how to write product names that pay off.

Changes to Returns Are Live

As of August 15, 2016, the changes to our Merchant Agreement are live and most merchants must accept returns within 14 days from the shipment delivery date.

Only certain products are exempt, including:

  1. Custom products
  2. Products listed in categories that do not allow returns, such as: Books, Intimates and Gourmet Food

We updated return policies for products on OpenSky.com accordingly, so be sure to double-check your items and ensure that any products that are custom are listed as such. (And keep in mind that we reserve the right to process returns within 14 days of purchase for products that were changed from not accepting returns to accepting returns, even if they were listed as not accepting returns when they sold.) Learn more.

Boost Insights Get A Boost

Pro Plan merchants, if you’re Boosting your products to put them in front of millions of shoppers across the Web, we have great news: Soon you’ll have access to more data, so you can see exactly how your Boost campaigns are performing.

We’re adding new tabs to your Shopper Traffic graph (which displays on your Merchant Toolkit Dashboard) that will show you how many add-to-carts, orders and sales your Boosted products have received. Eventually, you’ll be able to see how many impressions your products are getting, too.

Not Boosting your products yet? Contact us at pro@opensky.com or visit our FAQs. Please keep in mind that Boosts are only available to Pro Plan merchants who don’t have managed marketing campaigns.

Venture Over to Vendio

vendio-logoSell on Amazon or eBay, or both in addition to OpenSky? If so, check out Vendio, a member of the OpenSky family.

It’s a great service that streamlines product management and allows you to create, edit, and list products to Amazon, eBay, OpenSky, and your own online store from one place. You can even sell on Facebook with the service!

How’s that for convenience and increasing your reach? Plans start at $24.95 a month. You can even try it for free to see if it suits you.

About Your Product Names…

They could be meaningless and confusing shoppers. What does that mean for you? Shoppers could get turned off and move on, or they may buy the product and return it because they expected something else.

To avoid that, follow this simple formula to perfect your product names.

  1. State what your product is in simple, searchable terms (e.g., “Cotton Short Sleeve Shirt”).
  2. Add in general descriptors such as color, pattern and size (e.g., “Gray Cotton V-Neck Short Sleeve Shirt”).
  3. Keep the character count to 80 characters max, including spaces.
  4. Avoid special characters, catalog numbers and product codes.
  5. Spell-check. It’s the cherry on top of a killer—and profitable—product name.

Need a little inspiration? Here’s a great product name to help:

os-nl-081716-product-name

Get more tips in our new quick-start Guide to Selling on OpenSky.

From Auctiva EDU & The OpenSky Merchant Blog

Key Selling Tips, Part 1

Seasoned sellers share their best tips.

By Brad and Debra Schepp

We recently asked a group of e-commerce sellers a simple question: What are the most important things to know about running an e-commerce business? Read Story

Merchant Newsletter | August 18, 2016

Important Changes to Final Sale & Returns, Take Our Fulfillment Survey, & More

 

Changes to Final Sale & Returns Hit Soon

Plus, take our new fulfillment survey so we can help you save & more

We’re retiring Final Sale and changing our guidelines on returns soon. See details below. Plus, tell us about your fulfillment process so we can help you save and see how we’re making order processing easier for ShipStation merchants.

Final Sale is Ending

As you may have seen in your Dashboard, we’re updating our Merchant Agreement on August 15, 2016. As of that date, items can no longer be listed as Final Sale and most OpenSky merchants must accept returns within 14 days from the shipment delivery date.

Only certain products are exempt from the new return guidelines, for example:

  1. Custom products
  2. Products listed in categories that do not allow returns, including: Books, Intimates and Gourmet Food

These changes will help us align our policies with those of other marketplaces and help foster trust among shoppers.

What should you do? Double-check that any custom products you sell are listed as such. We’ll automatically update products’ return policies according to the new guidelines when the changes take effect.

Please note that we reserve the right to process returns within 14 days of purchase for items that are changed from Final Sale to accepting returns when changes take effect, even if they were listed as Final Sale at the time of purchase. Learn more.

Take Our Fulfillment Survey

We want to get to know your business better so we can serve you best—and help you save. If you haven’t already, be sure to take our short fulfillment survey. It’ll take just a few minutes and will go a long way in helping us identify new opportunities to help you reduce your costs.

Take the survey now.

ShipStation Merchants, Your Job Just Got Easier

If you use ShipStation to process your OpenSky orders, you now have one less step to take. Last week we added an OpenSky packing slip to ShipStation, so you no longer have to go into your OpenSky Merchant Toolkit to print packing slips for your OpenSky orders.

You can download the slips right from ShipStation. Get step-by-step instructions on how to do this in our Help Center.

When Should You Take Product Photos?

Morning and early evening. That’s when you’ll get the best lighting, a key ingredient in great product photos. To get the perfect shot, set up a seamless background next to a window for soft, natural lighting as shown below.

photo-tip-os-nlBe sure to avoid direct sunlight and harsh midday lighting. (They can wash out your image.)

And if you set up your shot outside for a lifestyle image—remember those receive almost double the traffic of other images—make sure it’s not in direct sunlight.

Get more tips in our new quick-start Guide to Selling on OpenSky.

From Auctiva EDU & The OpenSky Merchant Blog

Nail Product Sourcing

The trade shows you can’t miss

By Brad and Debra Schepp

Nothing beats old-fashioned face-to-face communication when it comes to sourcing, and trade shows are a great place for that. That’s probably why the shows are thriving, but which ones should you attend? Read Story

Merchant Newsletter | August 3, 2016

DIY Order Cancellations, Your New Guide to More Sales, How Selling is Like Dating & More

 

Just Released: DIY Cancellations

Plus, our best insider tips to wow shoppers & more

Cancellations are part of doing business. To make them a little easier, you can now cancel orders without contacting our Customer Support Team. See details below and check out our new Seller Guide. It’s bursting with our best insider tips to help you sell more.

Cancel Orders on Your Own

Before we tell you how to cancel orders, keep this in mind: Canceling too many orders can result in fines as noted in our Merchant Quality of Service Agreements. But when you must cancel an order, here’s how you do it on your own:

  1. Find the appropriate order in your “Orders” page. (Please note that orders must be in the “Review” or “Pending” tabs.)
  2. Click on the order.
  3. Click the order’s “Cancel Order” link.
  4. Select the reason for the cancellation.
  5. Click “Cancel Order” again.

Keep in mind that this will cancel all pending products contained in the order and that you can only cancel pending orders. If you have a pending order that contains multiple products but you already marked 1 product as “shipped,” you can still cancel the order, but the shipped product will not be canceled.

Once you cancel an order, we’ll email the shopper to let him or her know of the cancellation, just like we do with any other cancellation.

If you ever need to cancel only 1 or a few products in an order, or cancel an order for a product that has already been marked “shipped,” contact our Customer Support Team and they can help you. Learn more about cancellations in our helpful guide.

How Much Did You Pay for Marketing?

Pro and Elite merchants: You can see this figure labeled “Marketing Budget Renewal” in your Merchant Toolkit. This figure represents how much you’ve paid for Boosts and other marketing services to reach more qualified shoppers.

“Marketing Budget Renewal” figures are negative numbers because they represent payments you’ve made. (Payments made to you appear as positive numbers.)

Remember, Boost and other marketing services are only available to Pro and Elite merchants. If you’re on the Starter Plan and want access, upgrade your account. Already on the Pro Plan but not using Boost? See if you’re eligible on the “Advertising” section of your “Marketing” tab.

Psst… Your Listings Need Some Work

You’ll find some of our best listing and selling tips in our new quick-start Guide to Selling on OpenSky. Be sure to check it out to learn how to wow shoppers, improve your products and avoid common listing mistakes.

For instance, you’ll learn that:

    • Not using a lifestyle image (like the 1 below) as your 1st product photo can cut your views and sales in half.

  • The weird lighting rule that many merchants ignore—ruining their sales!
  • The No. 1 feature that successful merchants opt into.

Plus, you’ll learn how to:

  • Customize your account to build trust.
  • Perfect product names & descriptions.
  • Set up your product photography shots.
  • Get the right lighting for your product images.
  • Get your team involved.
  • And more!

Consider saving this handy guide onto your desktop or bookmarking this page in our Help Center, so you always have it at your fingertips.

From Auctiva EDU & The OpenSky Merchant Blog

Selling is Like Dating

You have to build trust.

By Dennis L. Prince

Today most people buy online. Some only buy online. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to earn and retain shoppers’ trust before they’ll commit to buy from you. Read Story

Merchant Newsletter | July 5, 2016

A New Feature to Reach More Shoppers, See Where Your Money Goes & More

 

OpenSky Boost is Coming

Plus, new in-depth reporting, how to nail product packaging & more.

You told us you wanted to see exactly how we’re spending your marketing dollars and how your sales are doing in return. Ask and you shall receive. See details below.

Plus, meet a merchant who wowed us with their packaging and get to know Bench, an online bookkeeping service that pairs you with a team who can handle all that annoying paperwork so you can focus on everything else.

Boost Your Products

Pro Plan members, you now have a new “Advertising” tab in your Merchant Toolkit that will soon give you access to Boost Alpha (our first phase of OpenSky Boost) if you don’t already have access to the feature. OpenSky Boost is the easiest way to reach new, qualified shoppers across the Web.

Here’s how it’ll work:

  1. Once you have access, select an advertising budget.
  2. Our algorithms place your products on top sites like Facebook, Google and 100s more, and we give your products added exposure on OpenSky.com.
  3. Shoppers see your products and buy them.
  4. You sit back and get ready for more sales.

You’ll also be able to check your Boost stats anytime in your Dashboard and we’ll email you with updates on how your products are performing. Want to know more? See our FAQs and if you don’t have access to OpenSky Boost yet, stay tuned. We’re inviting more merchants every day and will let you know when you’re eligible.

Keep in mind that OpenSky Boost is only for Pro Plan members, so if you’re on the Starter Plan and want access, be sure to upgrade your account. Elite and Enterprise members, your personal account manager is already advertising your products across the Web for you, so you’re covered.

In-Depth Reporting Debuts

Elite and Enterprise merchants: Have you seen your new, improved, and very detailed monthly report? It shows your cumulative and monthly sales and order totals, your marketing spend, your commission fees, and much more.

You can see exactly where we’re marketing your products, your return on ad spend and your top products.

Elite merchants, we even show you how many orders were canceled, products’ return rates and top shopper concerns so you can make adjustments if needed. Plus, you’ll find several tips at the end of the report so you can optimize your operation and continue to grow your sales.

Please note that this detailed reporting is only for Elite and Enterprise merchants. If you’d like to upgrade your account, contact our team for consideration.

Urban Metal Designs is Killing it

Want a crash course in product packaging? Urban Metal Designs keeps shoppers coming back by using beautiful gift boxes and hand-written thank you cards. Check it out:

As you prep your products for shipment, remember how powerful packaging can be. It can leave shoppers feeling like it’s Christmas all over again and eager to buy from you again, or it can make them wonder why they made the purchase in the first place. Urban Metal Designs totally got it right. Great work and high-five!

Simplify Bookkeeping & Save

Bench is a new kind of bookkeeping service that takes the pain out of small business accounting. When you sign up with Bench, you’re assigned a team of dedicated bookkeepers who know your business. Meanwhile, Bench’s simple, intuitive cloud interface lets you:

  • Analyze your revenue and expenses with in-app reports.
  • Photograph and submit documents.
  • Protect your bookkeeping information with bank-grade security.

Spend less time doing your books and more time growing your business. OpenSky members get 20% off their first 6 months with Bench. Claim your free trial today.

From Auctiva EDU & The OpenSky Merchant Blog

Dad Was My First Business Teacher

Childhood lessons lead to success.

By Dennis L. Prince

I grew up working alongside my dad and little did I know that his work style would translate into the philosophies I use today. Read Story

Merchant Newsletter | June 16, 2016

Exciting News: FTP is Here! Learn How to Manage Your Products More Efficiently

 

Introducing Our New FTP Feature

Plus, how to cut your commissions in half & more.

Want a new way to manage your products and orders in bulk? We have just the thing. Plus, see how you can cut your commission rates in half and how we’re improving the Merchant Toolkit to better serve you.

Say Hello to FTP Updates

You can now manage your orders and products using our new FTP feature if you’re on the Pro, Elite or Enterprise Plans. If you’re on the Starter Plan, be sure to upgrade to gain access.

The FTP feature is a great option if you have a large amount of products, or orders as it allows you to update and process these items in bulk quickly.

You can access the feature on the “Add More Products” page of your Merchant Toolkit and get step-by-step instructions in our Help Center. They’ll walk you through enabling and using the feature.

Use a third-party partner that uses FTP for managing products or orders? Contact our Customer Support Team and we can work with the company to integrate our systems.

Cut Your Commissions in Half

Don’t forget to sign up for an OpenSky plan if you haven’t already. It’ll cut your commission rate in half.

As we’ve mentioned before, our new plans reduce commission rates from up to 30% to a low, flat 15% regardless of how a sale is generated—which means you keep more of your profits.

The new plans also give you access to powerful tools to scale your business, the ability to reach more than 20 million U.S. shoppers and much more. Plus, they allow you to continue selling on the marketplace.

Take a few minutes to review our plans now and sign up for the one that best suits your business. We can’t wait to welcome you to a better, more profitable way to sell on OpenSky.

Toolkit Cleanup

Notice more helpful tips and guidance in your Merchant Toolkit as you add products? It’s just our way of improving the OpenSky selling experience for you and ensure you’re utilizing our tools to your full advantage.

Recently we had non-OpenSky merchants test our tools to get their feedback. We learned a lot and have been optimizing the Toolkit accordingly.

For instance, we debuted a new explanation of the “SEO description” field that displays when you add products to make it more evident that we enter this information for you, but you can change it as you see fit. We also reworked the “Photos & Video” section so you know that we require at least one photo for every product added.

More updates are on the horizon, so stay tuned!

From Auctiva EDU & The OpenSky Merchant Blog

Are You Wasting Time?

How to budget your time like your money

By Dennis L. Prince

If you want to use the precious hours you have making money, you don’t have time to waste. But you could be doing just that. Read Story

Merchant Newsletter | May 5, 2016

Have You Picked a Plan? You Need to by May 1.

 

Pick a Plan by May 1

Plus, avoid penalty fees, streamline your multi-channel selling & more.

If you haven’t signed up for one of our new plans, be sure to do so ASAP. On May 1, 2016, all merchants will need to be subscribed to a plan to continue selling on OpenSky. Read on for more details.

Plus, see how you can keep shoppers happy and avoid penalty fees, check out two new fixes you’ll love, and improve your multi-channel selling with Skubana.

Pick a Plan in the Next 2 Weeks

You’ll need to subscribe to a new plans by May 1, 2016, to continue selling on the marketplace.

If you don’t, your account will be deactivated, your products will be unpublished and shoppers won’t be able to buy from you until you’ve picked one of our plans.

Join more than 1,000 merchants who have already made the switch and take advantage of new features, a flat, lower commission rate and much more. Remember that OpenSky reaches more than 20 million eager U.S. shoppers who spent millions last year.

If you’re unsure about which plan suits you best, set up a time to talk to one of our Merchant Advisers to learn more about how our new plans can help save you money, reach more of the right shoppers and much more.

Shoppers Love Tracking Info

According to comScore, 97% of shoppers want tracking services for their packages. We can vouch for that. Shoppers regularly contact our Customer Support Team to ask when they’ll get their purchases. Who can blame them? We’re sure you get excited when you buy something online, too, and are eager to get it.

So be sure to enter valid tracking numbers for all your orders. Doing so will keep you in shoppers’ good graces, will help you comply with our Merchant Quality of Service Agreements and will help you avoid penalty fees.

And if you enter tracking info incorrectly, be sure to update it. It’ll keep shoppers in the loop and will make it so your product shows movement once it’s on its way. Remember that all orders (that aren’t custom items) must show a carrier pickup on the tracking number within 2 business days and must be delivered within 10 business days. Orders that don’t will incur fees.

You can view, update and process orders on your “Orders” page, so be sure to check that page regularly and update any orders that need it—especially ones that aren’t showing movement!

Fixes You’ll Love

We did a little clean up this week and fixed two things that will help you gauge your profits more accurately and sell more efficiently.

  1. We reworked the stats that appear on your Dashboard so your sales totals no longer include canceled orders.
  2. We fixed a bug that was allowing some products to be oversold.

Unlock Your Products’ True Selling Potential with Skubana

Earn EVERY dollar that your product is worth. With Skubana’s powerful profitability tools and intuitive multi-channel inventory software, selling is now a science of automation. Understand your customers’ buying habits, discover each product’s peak seasons, all with full control over your inventory and start selling smarter. See why the top 500 Amazon sellers use Skubana. Try Skubana free for 14 days.

From Auctiva EDU & The OpenSky Merchant Blog

Instagram Advertising, Part 2

How to succeed

By Brad and Debra Schepp

The billions of photos shared on Instagram are proof of just how popular this social media site is. And now that you know how to get started, let’s look at how to really become part of the Instagram community to gain new shoppers. Read Story

Merchant Newsletter | April 20, 2016

Important News: New OpenSky Plans Are Now Live

 

Have You Picked Your Plan Yet?

It’ll cut your commissions in half.

April 1 was a big day. Not only did we release new improvements we’ve been working on (a new Dashboard you can now see and a better way to calculate ship times), we debuted our new plans.

If you haven’t already, be sure to review the plans and sign up today for the one that best suits your business. Eventually, all OpenSky merchants will need to sign up for a plan to continue selling on the marketplace.

Our powerful growth plans give you the right tools to scale profitably. Not only will you save more, you’ll sell more by getting your products in front of the right shoppers. Read on to learn more about the savings and the new features included in each plan.

Plans Cut Commissions

Picking any of the plans (Starter, Pro, Elite and Enterprise) will cut your commission rate in half to a flat 15%. And, if you opt in to a plan for a year, you can save up to 20% compared to signing up for a monthly subscription.

If you’re unsure which plan is right for you, here’s a quick rundown of our most popular options.

The Pro Plan is perfect for existing OpenSky merchants and those looking to grow their operations. It gives you access to:

  • Unlimited product listings
  • Access to affiliate marketing across more than 250 publishers
  • Preferred placement in OpenSky search and categories
  • Inclusion in abandoned cart emails
  • Easy product uploads and imports
  • And more

The Elite Plan is perfect for larger businesses with $5,000+ advertising budgets that really want to keep pushing their selling potential. It gives you access to everything you get with Pro plus:

  • Account management services
  • In-depth shopper and marketing analytics
  • Targeted ads on Facebook, Pinterest and Google (that are managed for you)
  • Access to selling on LivingSocial, Twitter and 200 other ad channels (again, managed for you)

We also have plans for bigger and smaller businesses if you need more options. Just check out our Starter and Enterprise Plans.

Need Help Picking a Plan?

We know this is a big change, so if you have any questions or need help picking the plan that’s right for your business, don’t hesitate to set up a time to talk to one of our Merchant Advisers.

From Auctiva EDU & The OpenSky Merchant Blog

Instagram Advertising, Part 1

How to get started

By Brad and Debra Schepp

If you’re not using Instagram to market your items, you’re missing out on a valuable tool. Instagram is nearly as popular as Facebook. Not sure where to start? We’ll walk you through it. Read Story

Merchant Newsletter | April 6, 2016

Now Live: Product-Specific Discounts, Product Identifiers & More

 

Product-Specific Discounts Now Available

Plus how we’re making your products easier to find.

You told us our new Best Deal Pricing was a little confusing, so we reworked it. Read on for details and see how you can now set discounts for specific products starting today regardless of the OpenSky promotion.

Plus, review a few other updates we made to make your products easier to find.

Max Product Discount Replaces Best Deal Price

We recently introduced Best Deal Pricing to give you a way to set maximum discounts for specific products, overriding your storewide Maximum Allowed Discount.

However, you told us Best Deal Pricing was confusing, so we reworked the design.

  1. We changed its name from “Best Deal Price” to “Max Product Discount.”
  2. You’ll now enter a percentage discount instead of a dollar amount, just like you do for your Maximum Allowed Discount.

You can enter a Max Product Discount in the same place where Best Deal Prices appeared: in your products’ “Price & Variations” sections under the OpenSky price.

Max Product Discounts will work just like Best Deal Pricing: They simply override your storewide Max Allowed Discount for specific products.

  • If you set a Max Product Discount for a listing, that product will always sell between the max discounted price and the OpenSky price.
  • If you leave it blank, we’ll use your storewide Maximum Allowed Discount setting instead. (You can find that setting in the “Settings” section of your “Marketing” tab.)
  • Pro tip: Want to allow discounts on most of your products, but not discount one or two items? Set those products’ Max Product Discount to 0% to disallow discounting and always sell the products at your OpenSky price.

Did You Already Enter a Best Deal Price?

To ease this transition, we found all the Best Deal Prices you already entered and calculated equivalent Max Product Discounts for those listings.

We calculated these percentages carefully, but you should double-check any Max Product Discounts you may have to ensure you’re happy with the values we entered. Be sure to do this soon because we’ll start using Max Product Discounts to calculate the price of your products starting today.

Always Sell at Your Max Discount

As you review your Max Product Discount, notice the new “Always sell this product at this discount” box. When you check it, your product will always sell at the calculated price once the Max Product Discount is applied, regardless of the OpenSky promotion.

For instance, if your product has an OpenSky price of $50 and you allow a Max Product Discount of 20%, you’d be allowing the product to be purchased at prices between $40 and $50, depending on what discount or coupon each shopper has available. If you check the box, you’ll always sell the product for $40 if the shopper has a discount.

Product Identifiers Are a Must

Now let’s talk search. As of Wednesday, you can add a product’s brand and universal product code (UPC) in the “Price & Variations” section, or by uploading a CSV file, or doing an import from Bigcommerce or Shopify.

Be sure to review your products and add that info to your current items and future ones you create. These product identifiers are huge when it comes to search and many sites require them.

Plus, you get 2 major benefits by including brands and UPCs:

  1. Shoppers can find your products more easily.
  2. Product identifiers help us market your products more effectively.

Optimize Your Photos for Variations

Finally, we also updated our Co-Pilot ads to use product images for variations. This should increase your advertising return on ad spend (ROAS).

To benefit from this change, be sure to include images of the different variations you offer in your listings. For instance, if you sell a set of jewelry and shoppers can pick between a blue and a purple set, include at least one photo of each set.

You can set images for your variations in your products’ “Price & Variations” sections or in a CSV file if you’re doing a product import.

From Auctiva EDU & The OpenSky Merchant Blog

And the Winners Are…

Congratulations to Lisa B. of South Dakota, Jeanette C. of Minnesota, Edith T. of California and Scott M. of New York for winning our $50 Visa gift cards for taking our reader survey! And a huge thanks to everyone who participated. Your feedback will help us focus on the topics that matter most to you.

Merchant Newsletter | March 14, 2016