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

Start Shipping Faster by April 1 to Avoid Late Fees

 

New Shipping Timelines & Late Fees Start April 1

Plus, how you can improve shopping on OpenSky.

Ship times and packaging can leave lasting impressions on shoppers—both good and bad.

They can build trust and give visitors the confidence to buy again and again, or they can prevent shoppers from making another purchase, no matter how amazing your products are.

As we’ve mentioned in past newsletters, we’re continually working to ensure shoppers always have good experiences and keep frequenting the site and buying from you. To continue our efforts, we’re updating our Merchant Quality of Service Agreements.

Changes take effect April 1, 2016, and one will require you to ship products sooner. Failing to do so will cost you—literally. Read details below and see how you can help improve the OpenSky shopping experience even more.

The Biggest Changes & Their New Fees

The 2 biggest updates to our Merchant Quality of Service Agreements have to do with fulfillment and they have new associated fees.

Change 1. We’ll reduce the number of potential shipping-related violations, but you’ll have to ship orders faster. Starting April 1, tracking info for your shipments must show a carrier pickup within 2 business days of the order placement date and delivery within 10 business days of order placement.

If a package doesn’t show movement within 2 business days, you’ll face a $5 fee. If it doesn’t show delivery within 10 business days, you could pay another $5. We’ll apply that fee at our discretion and encourage you to contact us if you worry you’ll be fined once these changes take effect. Please note that we’ll use the fees collected to offer shopper incentives to encourage visitors to buy from you again.

These updates will align our ship times with the timelines other marketplaces have in place and shopper expectations.

Of course, we don’t want you to incur these fees, so be sure to process and ship your orders ASAP. You may even want to look at your shoppers’ locations and compare them with your own to see if you need to process some orders before others to ensure they meet the 10-day delivery timeline.

Change 2: We’ll simplify the penalties for merchant-initiated cancellations and will charge a $10 fee per occurrence. Every merchant has a responsibility to shoppers to ensure their listings are accurate. There’s nothing worse than having shoppers purchase items only to hear after the purchase that the product they thought was available was in fact out of stock.

To avoid fees, be sure to keep your inventory up to date. And if you ever find yourself needing to cancel an order for any reason, especially if it’s one that’s out of your control (for instance, if you sell custom jewelry and need additional information from a shopper to fulfill an order), please contact us.

We’ll do everything we can to assist you and help you avoid penalties.

Other Changes

Change 3: We’ll remove the section of the agreements called “Failure to apprise OpenSky of inventory changes.” It stated that you could face a $100 fee if you didn’t keep us posted of inventory changes within 15 days. However, the changes to merchant-initiated cancellations should take care of this issue, so we’ll no longer need that section.

Change 4: We’ll add clear packaging requirements, so shoppers receive their products in good condition and see the OpenSky name and our contact information in case they need assistance once they receive their purchases. Nothing ruins a shopper’s experience more than seeing the product they fell in love with arrive in pieces.

See full details on the updates to our Merchant Quality of Service Agreements.

Make OpenSky Even More Appealing

We’re confident these changes will help improve the shopping experience on OpenSky and will encourage visitors to tour the site regularly.

But you can do a few other things, too, to improve the OpenSky shopping experience even more, including:

  • Making sure products arrive undamaged and in working condition
  • Checking all your orders to ensure they’re complete before shipping them
  • Double-checking that the right products are included in the right packages
  • Shipping out products that match the product photos and descriptions you provided

From Auctiva EDU & The OpenSky Merchant Blog

Show Your Items In Use

It can pay off in a big way.

By Dennis L. Prince

The Internet has become the go-to source for how-to information. Shoppers want instructional content, and they want it about everything, especially your items. Read Story

Merchant Newsletter | March 2, 2016

New Feature! Put Your Best Price Forward + Learn How to Rock Your Returns

 

Set Product-Specific Discounts

Plus, the ins and outs of returns.

Wish you could set a discount limit on specific products? Soon you’ll be able to. See more details below. And get a refresher on our returns process to ensure your shoppers and you have good experiences. Because, well, returns happen.

Best Deal Pricing Hits

On Friday, you may have seen a new price you can enter for your products: the Best Deal Price. This optional price is the lowest price you will charge for an item once discounts from a promotion are applied. This price will override your Maximum Allowed Discount so you can have more control over your bottom line.

pricing-simplification

You can start entering this price now on desired products, and we’ll start using that info in mid-March.

Since the Maximum Allowed Discount specifies the maximum discount you will give all of your products during an OpenSky promotion, we wanted to give you a feature that lets you set pricing limits on certain products. For instance, if your Maximum Allowed Discount was set to 40%, but you only wanted to discount one product by 20% at the most instead of 40% or by 50% max instead of 40%.

When you set a (b) Best Deal Price, the affected product will always sell between this price and the (a) OpenSky price (the price at which your product would sell if no discounts were applied to it) starting in mid-March.

os-nl-0228-2

Navigating Best Deal Prices

You can enter any price in a product’s “Best Deal Price” field as long as it’s lower than the OpenSky price.

Keep in mind that the Best Deal Price is not your landed cost. You should account for commission fees, ad spend and other costs you incur as you calculate the Best Deal Price.

You can add Best Deal Prices (we will not add these for you) in your Merchant Toolkit by going to the “Price & Variations” section of any product.

Or you can perform a Bulk Edit. Here’s how you do that:

  1. Click “Bulk Edit” in the “Products” tab of your Merchant Toolkit.
  2. Download your Full Product File.
  3. Open your CSV file from your Dashboard once it’s ready.
  4. Enter Best Deal Prices for applicable products.
  5. Save the file.
  6. Re-upload it to OpenSky.

We’ll let you know when we start using Best Deal Prices on your Merchant Toolkit Dashboard.

Rock Returns

Returns are part of doing business. But if you accept returns in your store, do you know exactly how the process works? Here’s a refresher just in case to ensure the process is good for your shopper and you.

1. A shopper contacts us letting us know she wants to return a product.

2. We send the shopper a return label through email so she can return the item.

3. The shopper receives the label and ships the product back to you. At the same time, our Customer Support Team notifies you of the return and provides you with:

  • The shopper’s name, the order number, the shipped date, the return request date, the reason for the return and the label tracking number

4. Once you receive the return, we’ll issue a refund to the shopper (minus the return shipping cost) as long as the merchandise is in resalable condition. You’ll see the order deducted from your “Payments” page.

If the returned item is not in salable condition, let us know within 24 hours of receiving the product. If you don’t, we’ll assume the return is in resalable condition and will issue the refund.

Want to know more? Get all the ins and outs on returns.

From Auctiva EDU & The OpenSky Merchant Blog

Ditch the Vanilla Approach

Personality can propel sales.

By Dennis L. Prince

Strong businesses stay strong thanks to their projected styles or personalities. Shoppers remember a business that makes them laugh, shows a unique kind of caring or sensitivity, or (best yet) shares their values. Read Story

Should You Give Bloggers Swag?

Sending freebies can boost your exposure.

By Brad and Debra Schepp

Should you give products to bloggers for free in exchange for exposure? That question sparked lots of comments on The eCommerce Group’s Facebook page. It also ignited our curiosity. Read Story

Merchant Newsletter | February 28, 2016