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