Fall Back–You Deserve It

Above view of happy parents having fun with their children during autumn. They are lying down in heal of autumn leaves and looking at camera.The leaves are turning, the air is crisp and the dog days of summer are finally behind you. When spring sprung, you leaped into action to promote your goods. When summer sailed in, you broke a sweat to buoy your business.

Now that fall is here, can you really fall back for a moment before the start of the holiday season?

Of course you can, and you can get the respite you need without worrying you’re neglecting work. Breaks in your activity are not just refreshing, they’re required.

Read the entire article on Auctiva EDU.

Do Damage Control Right

Want to be heard. Attractive young woman shouting through a megaphone, holding it in her hand while standing against grey background

Now you’ve done it: A customer is unhappy with you. Whether you fumbled an order, overlooked an inquiry, or mismanaged a message, there are times when you’re going to dissatisfy someone.

It happens. What happens next, though, will make all the difference.

Whether the shopper is slightly annoyed or absolutely enraged, customers who feel they’ve been mistreated can become ticking time bombs. Here’s what you need to do to diffuse the dilemma and regain their trust.

Read the entire article on Auctiva EDU.

The Top 5 Reasons for Bad Product Reviews & How to Improve Them

how to improve your product reviewsShoppers can now review your products—and they’re embracing it. These reviews contain great information. (All reviews are moderated to ensure they contain pertinent info, good or bad.) But some of them are far from positive.

To help you leave the right impression, we went through all reviews to see the top reasons shoppers are dissatisfied. Here are the top complaints and what you can do to avoid them.

Top 5 reasons for bad reviews:

The complaint: The size was off.
Not all small, medium and larges are created equal. Some are smaller than others, and having to return a product because it didn’t fit correctly or was smaller than expected was a huge source of frustration for buyers.

The fix: Upload size charts (we like how Crazy Dog T-Shirts uploaded size charts as a product photo) for your items if they don’t include them already, especially if you sell apparel. Shoppers can’t try on articles, so it’s up to you to tell them where a shirt falls, how long sleeves are, if sizes run small or true to size, etc.

And include measurements for other products, too. If you sell fragrances or beauty products, note the size of the container and the ounces that container holds.

The complaint: The material didn’t feel like I expected.
Materials don’t always translate in photos.

The fix: Tell customers what products are made of, including the quality and weight of the material. For instance, if you’re selling a shirt, let shoppers know what it’s made of and if the material is “heavy” or “thin.” If you sell beauty products or foods, include the ingredients. Paint a picture so customers won’t expect one thing and be disappointed when they get their order.

The complaint: The photos weren’t accurate.
Cluttered or unfocused photos can give shoppers a bad view of the product.

The fix: Include multiple images that show your products in detail and from different angles. Be sure your images are at least 544 pixels by 544 pixels and opt for photos that are 1,248-by-1,248 pixels to enable our zoom feature. That really lets shoppers see details.

The complaint: I didn’t know where the item was from.
The origin of an item influences materials, sizes and delivery times.

The fix: Include the country of origin for all of your products so there aren’t any surprises when orders reach your buyers.

The complaint: The order took a long time to arrive.
We saw lots of bad reviews that had to do with shipping and we can’t stress its importance enough.

The fix: Mark your products “shipped”—and get them to a shipping carrier as soon as possible. This tells shoppers you’re aware of their orders, that you’re processing them and that they’ll be able to track them.

Keep these mistakes and fixes in mind as you write descriptions, add photos and enter your shipping details. What we found was that the more complete product descriptions were and the better shipping practices were, the better the reviews were.

Take a minute to revisit your top five products to see if you’re making any mistakes there, and if so, update them. You’ll get better product reviews when you do.

Simplify Holiday Returns

Young depressed girl wearing Santa's hat is in the living room surrounded by Christmas presents.

We’ve explored how to lure in buyers by offering free shipping and you’ve read about all the great reasons to offer a flexible return policy. Now we’d like to introduce the OpenSky Hassle-Free Return Program—another tool you can use to entice shoppers this holiday season.

Why Offer Extended Returns?

Our Holiday Series has been aimed at helping you prep for the big day. No, not Christmas (though, that’s, of course, a big one, too)—we mean Cyber Monday.

“More than 126 million Americans plan to shop online” on that day, so it can be a big day for your selling season. In 2014, the average shopper “completed 52.9 percent of their shopping as of December 10,” reports the National Retail Foundation.

If you’re only offering a 14-day return window, and your shoppers have completed half of their shopping before December 10, then the return policies for half of their purchases will expire before they’ve even had the chance to give their gifts!

Offering extended returns gives your shoppers peace of mind and reassurance that, even if their gifts aren’t perfect the first time, they can return them after the holidays and try again.

The Details of Hassle-Free Holiday Returns

By opting in to the Hassle-Free Holiday Returns Program on OpenSky, you’re making the returns process super simple for all of your shoppers this holiday season! When you opt in, shoppers who buy from you between October 15, 2015, and December 31, 2015, have until January 31, 2016, to return their products.

And don’t worry, items that you’ve set to Final Sale will stay that way, even if you opt in to our program. Your participation only affects products that are currently set to the 14-day return policy.

Enrolling is Simple

Participating in the Hassle-Free Holiday Return Program is easy. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Visit your “Marketing” tab of your Merchant Toolkit and select “Settings.”
  2. Under “Holiday Returns,” click the checkbox that says “Enable Holiday Returns” and save your settings.

Then all of your products marked with “We accept returns up to 14 days from the date the order was delivered” will be updated to reflect the extended return window. You can edit products individually, but as long as you are opted in, you will only be able to select “Holiday Returns” or “Final Sale.”

Give your shoppers that boost of confidence—and give yourself a boost in sales—by offering extended holiday returns.

Improvements to Your Merchant Toolkit Dashboard & More

In early October we removed the “feed” portion of the Merchant Toolkit Dashboard.

Throughout 2015 we’ve been researching how our members discover and shop on OpenSky. We noticed that some of the “social” aspects of the experience were distracting and confusing.

So we ran tests throughout the summer to see if a simpler experience, focused on great deals, product discovery, and personal recommendations, would be more engaging and generate more sales.

It did.

The New Experience

Many of the old “social” features on OpenSky have been clarified to help members shop more. Now:

  1. Members can only follow Stores to learn about products and offers. (They can’t follow other members any more, or be followed.)
  2. “Loves” are becoming a Wish List feature, so members can keep track of items they’d like to buy later.
  3. Product reviews from verified buyers have replaced open-ended comments.
  4. We also replaced the old Feed page with a new OpenSky home page, to give you more visibility. Your product promos, storewide sales, discount programs and loved items now appear in a distinct section of your followers’ home pages.

What This Means for You

The new home page is nearly 25 times more popular than the old Feed page and we’re going to keep improving it with a blend of personal recommendations and popular products from across the marketplace.

Now that we’ve disabled the shopper-facing feed, we decided to remove it from your Dashboard as well. This simplifies the content and makes your Dashboard load much faster. (This also simplifies the code so our team can move faster on new upgrades.)

We also simplified the process for creating a new promotion,and replaced the old, sometimes fragile, Posting Tool with a simple, one-page form.

New Features Coming

We’re currently researching 2 new programs to upgrade your Merchant Toolkit in 2016:

First, we want to give you better data about your marketing, customers and sales so you can see the best ways to grow your business. We’ve been busy prototyping charts and graphs so you can see your sales data at a glance. If there’s specific information you’d like to see in your Dashboard please let us know.

Second, we’re working on an “Auto-Pilot” program, which would crunch data to give you specific recommendations for merchandising, marketing and promotions so you can get better results faster.

In the meantime, you should continue creating new promotions. They still trigger automatic emails and mobile app notifications and appear on the new home page (where shoppers buy far more products than they did 6 months ago).

Twitter Buy Now: Turn Your Followers into Buyers

Twitter Buy Now ProgramExpand Your Reach & Allow Shoppers to Buy Directly from Your Tweets

Through our integration with Twitter’s Buy Now program, shoppers can discover and buy your products directly from your tweets.

It’s as easy as 1, 2, tweet!

Selling your products on Twitter allows you to easily distribute your products on a whole new platform. Instead of simply promoting or talking about your products on Twitter, you can now eliminate an extra step for your customers by allowing them to immediately buy your products from your tweets with just a couple taps.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Create a Post on OpenSky to share your product and/or promotion.
  2. Share that Post on Twitter with 1 click.
  3. Your followers buy your product right on Twitter.
  4. You manage the order on OpenSky and ship your product.

It’s that simple!

If you haven’t given this a try, email us at twittercommerce@opensky.com to learn more.

Happy tweeting!

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