Important Terms of Service Updates and New Features

Our new Terms of Service go into effect on May 1, so make sure you understand them now! There’s no need to opt-in to the changes—they’ll happen automatically.

What You Need to Know About the New Terms of Service

Please take a moment to read through the full overview of the new Merchant Terms of Service agreements. They include the following changes (and more):

  1. We’ve simplified them to include all of our sites and apps, including OpenSky, Dot & Bo, 55mulberry, and Pickperfect. This also means that if you list on one of those sites, we may cross-list (and promote!) your products on other sites.
  2. We’ll calculate the payment date for each order based on when its shipment is scanned by a carrier and shows movement.
  3. No more commissions on orders; we’ve replaced them with simplified transaction fees.
  4. We’ve updated fees and penalties for cancellations and returns.
  5. And more!

Again, you can read a detailed overview of the changes here. The current and new policies are all listed on our Policies page.

Now Available: Updated Bulk Product Features

We’ve improved how we import Etsy files, handle errors, and report success, and we’re continuing system-wide improvements to imports along the way. We’ve updated the bulk edit screen to display a message when imports are running a bit slower due to high demand. We’ve also limited Shopify imports to 100,000 products (previously, this was unlimited) to make sure a single, massive import doesn’t slow things down for everyone else.

Now Available: Faster-Loading Orders

We’ve updated your Orders page so that it loads quickly even if you’ve had thousands of orders. For some larger merchants, we’ve removed the fulfillment statistics to ensure a faster page load.

Now Available: 12 Photos Per Product

By popular demand, we’ve increased the maximum number of product photos from 6 to 12. (As always, the last photo can also be a video.) Adding photos of all of your products’ color variations and important details is an easy way to increase your sales.

Coming Soon: “Impression” Reports for Boosts

Boost merchants can already see reports of their products’ views, orders, and revenue. Soon we’ll be adding a 4th report: impressions, which will show how many times a shopper sees your product listings on the site in search results, “related product” lists, and other areas. It’s valuable information about shoppers’ first impressions so you can understand how often shoppers click on your products when they see them.

If you’re a Pro merchant and not sure if Boost is right for your business, contact us to get started and increase your exposure and sales.

Coming Soon: Payment Simplifications

We’re continuing to update your Payments page in preparation for the May 1 Terms of Service updates. We shared some previews with a handful of merchants in our New York City offices last week, and we’re tweaking the designs based on their feedback.

2017 Spring Seller Update Edition: New Features Now Available and Coming Soon

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Now Available: Delete Any Product

Too many unused product listings in your OpenSky account? Now, by popular demand, you can delete previously-published products. Just go to any product listing in your Merchant Toolkit. If it’s active, deactivate it. Then click to delete it.

This is an effective way to clean up your account and focus on your actively selling products. We also recommend deleting any listings with duplicate product names.

Now Available: Better Control for ShipStation and ShipWorks Integrations

Use ShipStation or ShipWorks to manage your OpenSky orders? Now you can connect and manage them directly in your Merchant Toolkit, under your Orders tab.

Now Available: Product and Order Management via AP

Our product and order management API is now open to merchants and partners. If you are familiar with APIs or have a partner with technical capabilities, contact us to get more information about automating your product and order management via API.

Coming Soon: Redesigned Payments Page

We’re simplifying and improving your Payments pages. Expect easy access to clear, comprehensive data and cross-linking with

If you have suggestions for making it easier to understand your Payments, please let us know!

New Feature on Its Way: Improved Etsy Imports

We’re improving how we import Etsy files, handle errors, and report success.

Contact us if you are a Boost merchant who needs help importing an Etsy product file.

You’re Gonna LOVE This! See What’s New, Stay Prepared & More

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Attention Business Owners: Boost Is Coming out of Beta!

Next week, we’re inviting all Pro Merchants to join the Boost program, our easy and cost-effective new solution to instantly increase traffic. Signing up for Boost gives you prominent merchandising placement on the OpenSky website, in emails, and in our app.

You can sign up for your first Boost for as little as $300 and start driving traffic to your products. When your budget runs out and it’s time to renew your Boost, we’ll let you know—or you can renew automatically.

Keep an eye out for your invitation next week, and find more information in the Toolkit. If you’re interested in Boost but still using the Starter plan, upgrade your account today so you can take advantage of our advanced marketing solutions.

Now Available: New and Improved Product Data File Processing

Do you use data files to bulk edit your product information or add new products? We recently launched our new data file processing system and data file format.

The new file format supports more product information and simplifies how variations are provided. Imports are processed faster and you’ll find detailed information about each import, including easy-to-read error reports, on our new Import History page.

Note: As part of the update, we will discontinue support for our old data file format on March 1, 2017.

Read more about our new and improved data file processing or Contact Us if you have any questions. We’d love to hear your feedback on this important product update.

Now Available: Use Google Product Files with OpenSky

You can now use Google Product Files to add and update products on OpenSky. Save time and resources by importing your existing Google Product Files (used with Google Shopping and various other marketing vendors) into OpenSky.

Imports are supported through both your merchant account and OpenSky FTP. Learn more about importing products using a Google Product File.

Coming Soon: Product Deletions

One of our frequently-requested features is coming very soon: the ability to delete published products!

Coming Soon: Better Control for ShipStation and ShipWorks Integrations

Our integrations with ShipStation and ShipWorks are popular tools for streamlining order management and shipping. We’ll soon allow these integrations to be activated, updated and disabled from your merchant account.

Best. Year. EVER. Tips on Keeping the Holiday Sales Momentum Going & More

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Reboot, Refresh and Get Set up for Success.

January is the perfect time to clean house and update your products to ensure they’re accurate, geared toward popular categories (like health, fitness and home organization), and competitively priced. Not sure where to start? Here’s a quick checklist to make sure you’re putting your best products (and prices) forward in the new year:

  • Are all your holiday-themed products unpublished?
  • Is your product assortment seasonally relevant?
  • Do your listings include a short, concise title, lifestyle images, and a compelling description?
  • Are your listings well stocked?
  • Have you updated your max discount lately?

By putting your products to the test, you’ll ensure you’re offering in-stock items shoppers are looking for at prices they can’t resist. Plus, by driving up your max discount, you’ll have a better chance at more exposure on the OpenSky marketplace and in shopper emails.

Get more tips on boosting your post-holiday sales from ShipStation, Kissmetrics and CIO.

The All-New OpenSky.com, Start Accepting Exchanges, Get Set for Cyber Week & More

Just in time for the holidays! We’ve been working round-the-clock to remake the marketplace for shoppers and we’re excited to unveil our new look. See details below.

Plus, let us know if you accept exchanges, ensure you’re shipping in time and get set for the busiest shopping days of the season—Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The New OpenSky.com

Shoppers are in for a treat! The OpenSky marketplace just got a huge makeover. The newly redesigned site features eye-popping collections, a sleek new interface and a totally immersive experience. Here’s a quick look at the new “About Us” page:

 

Revamping the marketplace is just one of the ways we hope to increase your sales—and while it will be hard to look away from all the pretty things and pops of color, rest assured that the same functionality and information for your store and product pages are still the same. Let us know what you think and stay tuned as we continue to optimize the site.

Offer Exchanges and Keep Your Sales

Shoppers often ask if they can exchange an item rather than returning it. Offering exchanges is a great way to keep the sale and build long-term relationships with customers (especially during the busy holiday season).

We recommend offering exchanges and will help facilitate this by promoting this option on product pages, and working with you and the shopper to find a suitable alternative for each exchange request.

To accept exchanges, simply go to the Orders tab in your Merchant Toolkit, choose whether or not you accept exchanges, and save your settings.

Keep Up the Good Work and Avoid Shipping Penalties

Are you shipping your orders as quickly as possible? Remember, we expect orders to be scanned by a valid carrier within 2 business days of being placed (and customizable products must be shipped within your estimated shipping time). Orders that do not meet these requirements result in shipping time penalties.

You can now review your penalties (if any) in the new Penalties section in your Merchant Toolkit. You’ll also be able to dispute penalties if you don’t think they’re accurate. After each payment period, we’ll send you an email summarizing your penalties for those orders and give you 2 more business days to file disputes. Once we’ve reviewed all disputes, we’ll calculate your final penalty deduction and apply it to your next payment.

Reminder: Extended Holiday Returns Are Here

Starting today, all products with a 14-day return window will automatically be part of our Holiday Returns Program.

This means all items purchased between November 8, 2016 and December 31, 2016, can be returned until January 31, 2017. Remember, any gift a shopper purchases before December 10 would essentially be Final Sale since she would not have enough time to return the item within the 14-day return window. By offering extended holiday returns, you can capture shopper demand early in the season and ensure you’re not missing out on sales.

Get Set for Cyber Week

Lastly, let’s talk Cyber Week, the week which includes Cyber Monday, one of the busiest shopping days of the holiday season.

Historically, this week has been big for online sellers. We expect even more traffic during Cyber Week this year, so we’re running huge promotional events every day that week, as well as the week before (which includes Black Friday).

As we run these, we’ll email shoppers to tell them about our promos and remind them of all the great deals they can find on OpenSky. We’d love to include your products in our events, potentially placing them in dedicated promo emails and landing pages!

All you have to do is set your maximum allowed discount to 30% or more.

To do that:

  1. Visit the “Max Discount” section of your “Marketing” tab.
  2. Set your max discount to at least 30% to be eligible for inclusion in our Black Friday and Cyber Week promotional events.
  3. Save your settings.
  4. Then get ready for the sales!

Time to Get Ship Done: Avoid Shipping Penalties, How Our Holiday Returns Program Will Help Your Sales & More

Are Your Shipping Times Shaping Up?

Before you know it, the holidays will be upon us. To ensure you have your most successful season yet, it’s important to stay on top of your shipping times and offer a holiday return policy that gives shoppers the confidence to buy. That’s why we’re making it easier than ever to stay updated on orders that didn’t ship in time and be part of our Holiday Returns Program. Get details below.

Plus, check out a new Boost feature, get some help from your team so you don’t miss important messages and learn more about the power of branding.

Ship in Time to Avoid Penalties

How are your shipping times shaping up? With the holidays just around the corner, shoppers will soon be expecting their orders to arrive more quickly than ever.

To avoid penalties, ensure you’re taking all the necessary steps to stay within the guidelines outlined in our Merchant Quality of Service Agreements. Remember, once an order is placed, you have 2 business days for it to be scanned by a valid carrier.

Also, stay tuned for a new Penalties section in your Merchant Toolkit. This will give you visibility on orders that did not meet our requirements and are subject to penalties. After each payment period, we’ll send you an email summarizing your penalties for those orders and give you 2 more business days to submit exception requests. Once we’ve reviewed all exception requests, we will calculate your final penalty deduction and apply it to your next payment.

Hassle-Free Holiday Returns

Ready for your most profitable holiday season ever? On November 1, we’re taking an extra step out of your holiday prep by automatically updating all products with a 14-day return window to be part of our Holiday Returns Program.

This means all products purchased between November 1, 2016, and December 31, 2016, can be returned until January 31, 2017. These products will still abide by the same guidelines as our current return policy, however, it gives shoppers a little more time to return their items, and most importantly, gives them the confidence to buy.

Remember, any gift a shopper purchases before December 10 would essentially be final sale since she would not have enough time to return the item within the 14-day return window—thus limiting your holiday selling potential in a big way. By offering extended holiday returns, you can capture shopper demand early in the season and ensure you’re not missing out on sales.

Learn more or contact us if you have any questions.

See How Your Boosted Products Measure Up

Pro Plan merchants, put your Boosts to the test! Here’s a sneak peek at the new Product Performance Chart you’ll soon see right below your Shopper Traffic Graph in your Merchant Toolkit:

This new feature will help you compare your Boosted products’ daily conversion rate with the average OpenSky marketplace conversion rate (the red line at the bottom). Similar to your Shopper Traffic Graph, the green portion represents how much impact Boost has on your products’ performance.

Anxious to try Boost? This program is currently only available to a pilot group, however, we’ll be inviting more merchants later this month. Stay tuned!

Getting Your Team Involved

Need help staying on top of important notices and messages during the busy holiday selling season? If you have a team of employees or co-workers who help you manage your business, you may want to route certain types of notices to their inboxes, freeing you from forwarding messages.

You can have different people receive messages in the following categories:

  • Business Owner
  • Customer Service
  • Accounting
  • Order Information
  • Product & Inventory Management
  • Marketing & Merchandising Updates
  • Social Alerts (Loves, Follows, Comments, etc.)

To add secondary users to cover these sections, go to your “Users” section located in the “Account” tab of your Merchant Toolkit. Scroll to the bottom of the page or click the “Add Account” link at the top. Enter the email address of the account you want to add.

After the additional user confirms via email, you can go back to your “Users” section and use the checkboxes to choose the types of notices he or she will receive. An important thing to note: After a user becomes a secondary user, he or she will have access to your entire Merchant Toolkit with the exception of your “Billing” section.

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

Merchant Newsletter | October 12, 2016

 

Why You Should Review Your Returns, Making the Price Right, Prepping for the Holidays & More

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Monitoring Your Returns?

We no longer review all returns, so you need to let us know if you want to dispute a return request from a shopper. Get details below. Plus, check out our enhanced Boost insights, see if you need to rethink your pricing strategy and start prepping for the holidays now.

Track Your Returns

Shoppers can now initiate returns without contacting our Customer Support Team. They just have to go to their “Purchases,” or “Order Details” pages and specify the reason they’re returning something. Then they’ll either:

  1. Get a shipping label for the return and send the product back to you.
  2. Or the request will be submitted to our Customer Support Team for review. We’ll then either email the shopper a return shipping label, so she can send her return to you or we’ll ask for additional information.

You will be notified of each return and it’s in your best interest to keep track. Since we don’t review all returns, you must let us know within 24 hours of receiving the return if you disagree with the reason a shopper specifies and want to dispute it. Keep in mind that the reason associated with each return determines who will pay for the return shipping cost.

Improved Shopper Traffic Graph Gives More Insights

Pro Plan merchants, check out the Shopper Traffic graph that appears in your Merchant Toolkit Dashboard when you Boost. Three tabs let you easily see how many views, orders and sales your Boosted products have received.

57dc6479c915e45a9a763034And take a look at the gray and green portions. They show you just how much impact Boost has on your traffic with gray representing organic traffic and green representing Boosted traffic!

Currently available to a limited pilot group, Boosts and the Shopper Traffic graph will become available to all qualifying merchants later this fall. With the holidays just around the corner, you’ll be able to Boost your products to put them in front of millions of shoppers across the Web.

Note: Boosts are only available to Pro Plan merchants who don’t have managed marketing campaigns.

Is Your Pricing More than Right?

Price matters—a lot. It can actually help build trust and encourage shoppers to buy.

The key is to show shoppers the value you’re offering them and you can do that in 3 simple steps:

  1. Do some research to ensure your products are competitively priced. Shoppers are always on the hunt for the best price, and if they find your products elsewhere for a different price, it could cost you a sale—and their trust.
  2. Set the MSRP on all your products. We’ll display MSRPs above the OpenSky prices to show shoppers the savings you’re offering them and that can be just the push they need to buy.
  3. Ensure your MSRP is accurate. Posting an inflated MSRP can hurt your sales. Remember, shoppers research their purchases, and if they see an inflated MSRP, they’ll go elsewhere. Plus, inaccurate MSRPs are a breach of our Merchant Terms of Service Agreement.

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

 

Merchant Newsletter | September 29, 2016

Here Come the Holidays, Part 1

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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:

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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