The 101 on Returns

Learn everything you need to know about returns so you can make the process easy and efficient for your customers.  

When a customer wants to return an item purchased from your OpenSky store:

  • The customer contacts our Customer Love team with their order number and item(s) that they want to return.
  • As long as the item(s) are returnable and fall within the 14 day return period (as defined by you when creating your product) OpenSky sends the customer a UPS return label via email (paid for by OpenSky). The customer receives the label and ships the item back to you 
  • At the same time, OpenSky’s Customer Love team will notify you of the return and provide the following information:
    • Customer’s name, order number, shipped date, return request date, return reason, UPS label tracking number
  • Our Customer Love team initiates the return in our system,  and the customer’a refund is processed once there is movement on the tracking number. 
What if a customer returns something to you, without contacting OpenSky?
  • Don’t panic!
  • Contact our Merchant Help team ( with the Order number and provide the order number (if available) and item(s) returned.
  • OpenSky will process the customer’s refund.
Following these steps so that you and the OpenSky team can work together to process returns in a timely fashion, ensuring that your payments are accurate and on-time. Providing a quick and efficient return experience for customers will increase buyer confidence and encourage repeat purchasing in the future. If you have any questions about returns, please email

Gaining Followers

There are a variety of ways you can go out gaining followers or “growing your reach” on OpenSky. Here are a few tactics, broken out into “Active” and “Passive” methods.

Grow Your “Reach”: Passively & Actively Gaining Followers
Like other social media sites, a key to success on OpenSky is making sure you’re always growing your reach. On Facebook that’s “likes” and on Twitter and OpenSky that’s “followers”.  Essentially your “reach” is the number of people you can touch with the posts you create.
So now you get it, but how do you gain followers? How do you build your reach?  Here are a few basic tactics.
Passive Tactics for Gaining Followers
  1. Add your OpenSky link to the signature of your emails
    • Every time you send an email you could be passively marketing to people, effectively growing your following without trying.  Just add in a link to your OpenSky page in your email signature and prompt every person you communicate with to follow you.
    • Add a “social icon” to your website. Anyone who comes to your site is clearly a fan. Get them to support you on social media and tell their friends. Adding a social icon is another form of passive marketing, that can work for you without having to do much.   In fact, don’t stop at your website – add an OpenSky logo next to any place you currently showcase other social icons linking to facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest, etc. See how Hunny Bun did it:

Active Tactics for Gaining Followers

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

Take a look at the Pintrest board that Overstock Art added:​

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

Introducing #FastShip

Introducing FastShip

Come December, the expectations for accurate and timely fulfillment are at an all-time high. But if you’re able to comfortably and confidently ship products late in the shopping season, take advantage of FastShip on OpenSky. Give shoppers piece of mind to shop late in the season by providing a shipping cut-off deadline on all your products with one click.


Enable FastShip in your Toolkit

  • Visit the Promotions tab in your Merchant Toolkit to enable FastShip.
  • Choose a shipping cut-off date for your products. By selecting a date, you guarantee anything ordered on or before this date will arrive in time for Christmas.


FastShip Banners

  • Once you save your FastShip settings, all your products will receive a red FastShip banner, visible to all shoppers.
  • We’ll also display a FastShip banner to the right of the Add to Cart button on product pages.


Auto-Updated Product Details

  • Your product pages will get auto-updated with a shipping deadline for shoppers to reference.
  • For example, the details will now include messaging that reads “Order by Mon, Dec. 16th and you are guaranteed to receive this product by Christmas day.

Once FastShip is enabled, create a post using #FastShip to give shoppers the good news.

Enable FastShip

An Interview with OpenSky Merchant ShopLuLu

The Lean Retailer recently interviewed OpenSky Merchant Jill Ehrlich about her business, and OpenSky store. Here’s her story.

13873_10153332440355319_1985458540_nI’m Jill Ehrlich and I have a brick and mortar store that I operate two days a week during the Amish Market in Pennsylvania. I also operate my own e-commerce website from our HQ in Wilmington, Delaware – and I use the OpenSky Platform too!

Getting Started Online

Lulu’s got its start almost as a hobby for me.  I had grown up working in retail in my father’s chain of Retail Lighting Stores but I then got into a career in Human Capital Management.  About ten years ago, I left that work and began importing handbags and selling them online. Things went so well that I decided to pursue it more seriously founding LuLu’s online in 2003. I built my own site on Yahoo. At the time there were less off-the-shelf e-commerce sites available but with my tech background, I felt confident enough to make it happen.

I think the thing I love the most about the online environment is that it is so flexible. With a brick and mortar store, it can be hard, time-consuming and expensive to make sure your stock and environment are reflective of the latest trends.  Online I can play with themes and make sure that when Fall comes, my site and my stock are reflective of the latest trends in no time at all.

Getting Customers Online

Customer acquisition is also more flexible when you’re online. In literally thirty seconds you can figure out a new keyword that will pull in a new customer on any particular day. E-commerce is, however, incredibly competitive.  When you type in ‘Fall Scarf’ into Google, imagine how many people want to be at the top of the results for that search? You have to be creative and flexible with sourcing traffic, especially if you’re using your own site rather than something like OpenSky.

Keeping Customers Coming Back

20131008_113307 (2)I like to inject my personality into the online space using Social Media. For example, one day I came in and saw my dog curled up on one of our scarves.  I put a quick snap on our Facebook page and it ended up being a really successful post.  That kind of thing creates a sense that there is a real individual behind this business.  It’s about taking a customer and engaging them so your brand becomes less like a faceless vendor and more like a trusted friend.

Driving Sales

Discovering OpenSky has been a huge boost for my business. Because they host a wide range of goods, they get a lot of web traffic. As a result, if OpenSky promotes one of our products to their whole audience, we know we’re going to see a huge spike in interest. It’s a very powerful platform.  In fact, I actually get up every morning at 6.30 and the first thing I check is to see if we’re featured on the homepage because I know it’s going to be a busy day if we are!

Building a Following

OpenSky has definitely helped me to reach new customers and build a new online following.  I know a huge number of my brick and mortar customers by name. I always remember when they were in the store last and what they bought.  We chat all the time and I often joke that I know when all the women in town are pregnant before their husbands.  It’s exactly that kind of close relationship and tight-knit community that I want to reproduce online. OpenSky is the perfect place to make that happen.

The Good and The Bad of going of using a Third Party E-Commerce Platform

The Bad

One piece of advice I would give is to be careful to ensure you are running a diversified business.  On a few occasions, I have gone ‘all-in’ pursuing a particular online sales channel only for circumstances to change and the sales to fall off a cliff. For example, very recently I started using a E-commerce plugin for Facebook that proved really successful.  In fact, I was getting such a high volume of demand that I employed someone pretty much full time to run things.  Of course, almost as soon as I had done that, Facebook changed something in their Terms and Conditions and the demand disappeared.  I think part of the lesson here is not to put your eggs in someone else’s basket.

The Good

It’s really important to take advantage of the diverse range of e-commerce opportunities out there. When one business struggles, you have another revenue stream to keep things going. The key is to learn about which channels and which strategies are working for you and which aren’t.  I’ve been lucky enough that when my brick and mortar store has struggled, i’ve been able to rely on the online business.  It’s nice to have that sense of having options.

National Free Shipping Day & #FastShip

National Free Shipping Day (#freeshippingday)

On Wednesday, December 18th OpenSky will participate in National Free Shipping Day. This is the day when online retailers offer free shipping to shoppers for the day.  It’s designed to fall later in the holiday shopping window in order to drive orders on products that can still ship and arrive safely without expedited shipping (which means increased prices for shoppers)

To participate in this program, simply opt-in to the Rewards Free Shipping Program in your Merchant Toolkit. Here’s how:

  1. Visit your Dashboard
  2. Click on the Promotions tab
  3. Scroll down and check the box next to Participate in Rewards Free Shipping. 

Once you opt-in, your products be set to ship for free on Wed, Dec 18th (and future Free Shipping promotions organized by OpenSky). Click here to read more details on the Rewards Free Shipping program. 

Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 12.31.33 PM

Holiday Fast Shipping

Come December, the expectations for accurate and timely fulfillment are at an all-time high. But if you’re able to comfortably and confidently ship products late in the shopping season, you can still see a nice increase in order volume.

If you can swing it, there’s two things you’ll be able to do next week to communicate your ability to ship late in the shopping season to shoppers:

1) Opt-In to FastShip – Visit the Promotions tab in your Merchant Toolkit to opt-in to FastShip and select a cut-off date for your shipments (Wed, 12/18; Thurs, 12/19, etc.)


This messaging will be displayed for shoppers on product pages. It will also trigger a visual call-out in the form of a banner that’s automatically applied to all the products in your shop (similar to what you see on products that are marked as exclusive in your toolkit)


2)  Create Posts using #fastship. Once you opt-in to FastShip , you can use #fastship in your posts to further categorize these items on OpenSky.  But remember – before posting, go the extra distance to set the proper expectations for shoppers by over communicate your personal shipping cut-off dates, details and policies on product pages.  It’s great to drive orders late in the shopping season, but negligible if the orders don’t arrive to the shopper on time.

If you’re managing shopper expectations properly, you’re doing your part to uphold the standards and level of quality set by fellow Merchants using OpenSky to sell.  And it’s the Customer Satisfaction you’re creating that will drive repeat purchases for you (and other merchants) in the future, while simultaneously turning shoppers into a brand evangelist that spread the word to friends and family about your brand (and others).

Best Practices: A Week of Posts

Use OpenSky to organize and coordinate posts across your social networks. Posting good content on a regular basis keeps your followers engaged in your business.

A Week of Posts

Plan your week to include a mix of posts that sell ($) and posts that engage to build your brand (+).

Monday – Post a promotion ($)

Promotions are exciting and reward members’ loyalty. Start with a new photo or video of your product. Experiment with discounts, free shipping, or both. Create urgency by reminding them of time limits.

Once you’ve mastered the basics, expand your repertoire to include a mix of limited supplies, free inserts, gift wrapping, and customizations.


Tuesday – Post a reminder ($)

Most purchases happen at the beginning and end of a promotion. Remind your followers when time is running out, so procrastinators don’t miss out on the chance to shop with you. Cross-post to your other social networks to bring new followers to your OpenSky.


Wednesday – Engage with your community (+)

Show your fans that they make a difference. Thank followers for helping you reach important milestones. Ask for – and reply to – feedback and suggestions. Ask followers to help by tweeting, posting, and sharing your store.


Thursday – Offer help and tips (+)

Post a recipe. Use video to share styling tips or create a look. Explain how to simplify your products’ care and maintenance. Suggest new uses and pairings. Share your passion.


Friday – Give an inside look (+)

Share an authentic peek behind the curtain, so your fans can see the elves at work. Showcase your people. Name names. What does your workspace look like? Your process?


Saturday – Spotlight a product ($)

Post a new photo and remind shoppers of an overlooked gem, a fan favorite, or a seasonal special. Bundle your products into new listings. Describe special features and details. Use hashtags so more people can discover you on OpenSky as well as other social networks.


Sunday – Share inspiration (+)

Post a quotation or inspiring image related to your brand. Tell us what gets you up in the morning. Remember the big picture. Have fun.


Along the way –  Message your fans ($, +)

Your greatest asset is a personal connection. Reply to comments. Welcome new followers and merchants. Have public conversations and encourage participation. Use @name mentions to directly connect with people.


Takeaways from Black Friday through Cyber Monday

Congrats! You’ve made it through the busiest retail weekend of the year!

First off, hats off to all OpenSky Merchants who took advantage of the holiday shopping weekend (Black Friday – Cyber Monday) The merchandising, promotions and marketing done led to one of the most successful shopping weekends for the entire community in this history of OpenSky.

Here are key takeaways from the weekend:

  • 165% increase in the number of posts made by OpenSky Merchants. This increase in posts created a dynamic experience for shoppers. Shoppers had new, interesting content to engage with around the clock.  All in all, more posts = more marketplace activity.  More marketplace activity = more time spent on site by shoppers, more repeat visits to the marketplace by shoppers, and ultimately an uptick in buying.

  • 145% increase in fee-free followers that joined and followed Merchants. Broadcasted posts and emails sent to friends, family and/or followers on other platforms are a key part of growing your marketplace. Over the weekend, the increase in fee-free followers joining and following Merchants points to an increase in traffic being driven to merchant storefronts through broadcasted posts and emails. In aggregate, this means more shoppers for each merchant.

  • Overall, Merchant sales increased 47% between Black Friday & Cyber Monday. This increase indicates that shoppers appreciate the assortment, selection and value they’re getting by shopping in the marketplace you’re building. The sum total of the experience is what ultimately yields sales. Over the weekend, the assortment was broad and the value was clear – and it drove sales for a big chunk of OpenSky merchants.

  • 1 out of every 5 merchants sold a product over the weekend. In a social marketplace like OpenSky, actions like posts, loves, and comments provide exposure for products that traditional retailers and ordinary marketplaces don’t provide. With the increase in activity in the marketplace over the weekend, more products were exposed. As a result, the number of merchants that had a sale saw a healthy increase.

  • Merchants that ran promotions over 30% off sold on average 5x more. Although promotions aren’t the only way to drive a sale, they do make a difference this time of year – and specifically during times like Black Friday weekend when its the status quo.

Hopefully, you’re just as encouraged by these numbers as the team at OpenSky. It’s fun to see that what we’re all doing is driving results. Granted, now isn’t the time to let up – keep posting, keep marketing and build your business. Each merchant doing their part means net growth to the overarching marketplace, and that means a more dynamic shopping experience for members.  And in the end, that yields more success for each and every merchant.


OpenSky for iOS & Android. Manage Your OpenSky On-The-Go.

Get connected to OpenSky when you’re on the go.  With the launch of OpenSky’s new App for Android, along with updates to the iOS app last week, you can now keep up with your OpenSky on the go – whether it be on iPhone, an iPad or an Android powered device.

Here’s a run down of the OpenSky Apps. Click to download if you don’t already have them installed!

iOS: iPhone & iPad App



Click to download.

Key Features for Merchants

  • Post On-The-Go. Share with your followers by posting on-the-go with OpenSky’s iOS Apps (note: broadcasting posts to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn is not currently supported by the iOS app; for that functionality, please post from our mobile site,
  • Push Notifications, Respond to Customers, in Real-Time. Once the App is installed, you’ll begin to receive push notifications so you can get real time updates on your OpenSky business. The moment a potential customers follows, loves, comments or orders, you’ll get an alert and be able to jump into OpenSky to engage with them. Read more about Notifications here.
  • Merchant Toolkit via iPad. Manage your business via OpenSky’s iPad App.  Visit your Dashboard, make posts, add new products, updated your account, and access your orders. (note: the Merchant Toolkit is not currently available for iPhone – it’s tough to fit all the info into that tiny screen!)




Click to download.

Key Features for Merchants

The first version of OpenSky’s Android App launched last week, which means it’s our initial basic, beta version. To start, Merchants with Android devices will enjoy regular browse functionality, Commenting and Push Notifications.

  • Commets On-The-Go. Use the App to post comments – share with your followers or respond to questions from the community.
  • Push Notifications. Once you have the App installed, you’ll begin to receive push notifications so you can get real time updates on your OpenSky business. The moment a potential customers follows, loves, comments or orders you’ll be able to jump into OpenSky and engage with them.  Read more about Notifications here.

Tips for Holiday Shipping + Deadlines for USPS, UPS & FedEx

Holiday Shopping means important shipping deadlines that need to be carefully managed. Make sure you’re ‘buttoned-up’ on your shipping practices for the holidays. Here are a few tips for holiday shipping, along with deadlines and helpful links from USPS, UPS & FedEx.

Tips for Shipping

  • Learn the shipping deadlines for your carrier of choice. Get familiar with the shipping deadlines for your carrier of choice, and figure out your personal cut-off date – the last day when you can comfortably ship to customers without having to increase the cost for the shopper.
  • Update your Product Pages with clear Shipping Info. Once you know the cut-off date, update your OpenSky product pages with clear shipping and delivery information for shoppers. Over-communicating this info is a good thing – it will give shoppers confidence when making a purchase – especially as we get closer to the shipping deadlines.  Including clear shipping info could be the difference in closing a sale.
  • Keep a close eye on your inventory. Sometimes managing inventory during the holidays can be tricky. If you sell in a variety of places, make sure you’re keeping a close eye on your inventory numbers so you don’t sell out too soon, or or even worse, sell more than you have on hand. This could create all sorts of customer service and fulfillment complications for your holiday shoppers and will leave you scrambling to get orders to customers and put out fires until the last minute.

USPS logo

Domestic Mail Class / Product Cut-off for Delivery
First-Class Mail® Service Dec. 20
Priority Mail® Service Dec. 21
Standard Post™ Service Dec. 14

Helpful Links:

Click here to access USPS’s Shipping Tool – figure out the cost and days it takes to ship to customers across the US.

UPS logo

U.S. Domestic Service Cut-off for Delivery by December 24*
UPS Ground Dec. 16-23 (varies by origin and destination)
UPS 3 Day Select® Dec. 19
UPS 2nd Day Air® Dec. 20 or
Dec. 21 (with confirmed pick up)
UPS Next Day Air®/UPS Next Day Air Saver® Dec. 23

*Some shipments to and from certain locations may require additional time in transit

Helpful Links:

Click here to use UPS’s Shipping Tool – figure out the cost and days it takes to ship to customers across the US.

Download this UPS Holiday Shipping Guide to make sure shipping dates are nearby throughout the holidays.


U.S. Domestic Service Cut-off for Delivery
FedEx Ground® Dec. 17
FedEx Express Saver® Dec. 19
FedEx 2Day® Dec. 21
FedEx Overnight® (Standard, Priority & First) Dec. 23

Helpful Links:

Click here to use FedEx’s Shipping Tool – figure out the cost and days it takes to ship to customers across the US. 

New Feature: Push & Email Notifications

OpenSky Merchants have many different marketing, merchandising and promotion techniques available to them, but all successful merchants have one thing in common – – they are actively engaged in growing their business. They’re dialed in to the activity happening on their pages, and super responsive to each passerby.

Successful merchants don’t wait for sales to come their way, they go out and make them happen by engaging with their followers – whether that be through posts, follows, smiles, emails, comments, etc.

To further support each Merchant’s mission to grow, we’ve created new Push and Email Notifications so that you can keep up with your OpenSky wherever you are.

For example, the moment a customer asks a question about your product, you’ll receive a notification and be able to assist them right away. This allows you to provide the superior customer service and extra TLC that pales in comparison to the big box brands at the moment you have someone browsing your goods.

You’ll receive Notifications (Push or Email) when a potential customer….

  • Loves a Product
  • Comments on a Product
  • Comments on a Post
  • Comments on your Profile or Store Page
  • Follow you
  • Smiles at a Post
  • Mentions your brand in a Post

There are actual a few others as well, of which you can see in the image below. As you can see, you’ll be able to customize your push and email notifications specifically for the information that’s relevant to your business, and decide how you’d like to receive each type of notifications – whether it be via email or push notification (make sure you’ve downloaded our apps – iOS or Android

Screen Shot 2013-11-27 at 11.39.12 AM

If need be, you can adjust your setting by going to This is also accessible at any point through the main account settings functionality built into the top navigation bar of the site.