OpenSky Launches Customizable Storefronts

OpenSky Launches Customizable Storefronts Powered by OpenSky

Manhattan — New York — November 5, 2014

OpenSky today announced the release of Storefronts powered by OpenSky, a new free technology that enables one-click launch of a fully functional e-commerce website.

“We are helping businesses grow by making it easier to sell online,” said John Caplan, OpenSky Founder/CEO.

OpenSky Storefronts are created in minutes by using product information extracted from the OpenSky marketplace. Inventory and product information are shared in real-time, reducing costs and time that merchants spend managing their inventory and product catalog across multiple channels. OpenSky Storefronts are free for existing OpenSky merchants. This allows businesses to shift money from web hosting and development budgets, to product development, promotion and marketing.

To learn more, please check out our FAQ.

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Merchants: You will be able to claim your Storefront via your Merchant Dashboard.

Claim Your Storefront

OpenSky Distribution Programs: Overview, Requirements, & Submission Forms

Distribution Programs: Overview & Requirements

OpenSky distribution programs afford OpenSky brands additional opportunities for sales and exposure on large, national retail platforms. This is part of our mission to help you grow your business both on and beyond OpenSky.

Brands that are chosen to participate in OpenSky distribution programs ship quickly, have beautiful product imagery, and can commit to the firm inventory requirements of our partners.

All distribution programs will require you to ship with 48 hours of receiving your order with a packing slip inside the box. If any brand fails to meet these requirements, they will not be invited to participate in future programs.

How you receive orders: All orders you receive from distribution programs will flow directly into your OpenSky dashboard, making fulfillment easy and seamless for you.

How you are paid: You will be paid within 40 days of receipt of the order.

LivingSocial: Overview

Products selected for LivingSocial distribution will be merchandised on LivingSocial.com for 14 days. Brands whose products are deemed a success by LivingSocial may be asked to participate in sales on a regular basis after the first run.

The LivingSocial distribution program is managed as a wholesale arrangement, which is different from the revenue share you regularly have with OpenSky. All orders are fulfilled via drop ship. You will provide us with your best wholesale price and your best retail price; from there, we will work with you and LivingSocial to price your item as competitively as possible to sell large volume.

We’re looking for products across all OpenSky categories. There are immediate opportunities for brands, and we are also planning up to 12 weeks in advance. So, if you are able to reserve the required inventory for a later date, you may submit for a future promotion.

Living Social: Requirements for Submission

– You must submit your best wholesale price available for the product you are submitting, taking into consideration the potential volume of the promotion.

– You must have a minimum of 1,000 units of the item, though we prefer items with upwards of 2,000 units.

– We will consider products across price ranges, but our focus is on goods that can drive $20,000+ in sales.

Submit your LivingSocial product here

OpenSky Fresh Finds, only at Sears: Overview

Within the next two weeks, we will begin an exclusive distribution program with Sears, one of the nation’s top 10 largest retailers. The program, called OpenSky Fresh Finds, only at Sears, will launch first on Sears.com, with dedicated in-store displays to follow shortly thereafter.

Sears has been a retail powerhouse for generations, and we are thrilled to be partnering with them to bring the Sears shopper OpenSky’s unique and inspiring brands.

Every week, OpenSky Fresh Finds, only at Sears will showcase a new collection of apparel, accessories, and lifestyle goods around one of the season’s exciting trends. The first three collections have been fully confirmed and are now closed, with the themes “Celebrate America”, “Love-a-Fair”, and “Rio.” Brands that were accepted into these first collections have been contacted, and will be informed of the confirmed launch date very shortly.

We are now accepting submissions for the next four collections.

Brands that are selected to participate in the OpenSky Fresh Finds, only at Sears program will ship orders using a Sears UPS account–Sears pays for shipping on all orders! In store, the OpenSky Fresh Finds, only at Sears displays will showcase several styles from the week’s featured collection. Customers will purchase products via tablet at the in-store display, and orders will be shipped to customers.

OpenSky Fresh Finds, only at Sears: Requirements for Submission

– In order to be considered for an upcoming OpenSky Fresh Finds, only at Sears collection, you must complete the OpenSky Fresh Finds, only at Sears submission form in full. You will complete one application per product.

– For each product you submit, you must submit a UPC code. If your product has variations (size, color, etc.) you must submit a unique UPC for each variation. If you do not already have UPCs for your products, you may buy them at http://buyabarcode.com.

– You must be able to offer a 20% discount on your product(s).

– You must provide us with your UPS account information (for address validation). Please note, Sears is paying for shipping.

– You must set aside a minimum of 20 units, but 50+ are preferable. The objective of the program is to introduce Sears’s national audience to OpenSky’s innovative brands—therefore, we’re looking for brands with sufficient inventory to cover a national audience.

Please review the inspiration images for the four summer collections we are currently composing–only products that fit these concepts will be considered for the next four collections:

os_FF_nextcoll_v031. Safari Chic: Think rustic, animal prints, khaki, army green, cargo, denim.
2. Away at Sea: Think light, easy & breezy, shades of blue and yellow, stripes, ocean motifs, sailor rope.
3. Mad for Metallics: Think preppy, feminine, metallic, polka dots, celebratory!
4. Funky Patterns: Think bold, playful, mixing prints and textures, edgy.

Ready to apply? Complete and submit your Sears Distribution form here.

*Please note that due to the volume of applications, we will only be able to follow up directly with brands that are chosen for these programs.*

Updates to Storewide Sales

Storewide sales have become very popular with shoppers (and merchants) on OpenSky since they were introduced a few months ago. We’ve gone ahead and implemented your feedback and suggestions to make storewide sales even better!

Added Features:

  • Share Storewide Sales from the Posting tool

Storewide sales have moved! They’ve left the promotions tab of the toolkit and moved into the posting tool. Now, when you’re selecting a product to post about, you can choose a storewide sale too!  Once your storewide sale is active, it will show up  in the active promotions section of the promotions tab in your toolkit.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 5.32.16 PM

 

  • Broadcasting Storewide Sales to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin & More!

You can now easily broadcast your storewide sale to all your fans! Make sure you have a green check mark next to your marketing channels in order to share with the audiences you’ve built. We currently give you the ability to share to Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Time to make your storewide sale go viral!

  • Schedule Storewide Sale Start & End Dates

Just like individual product promotions, your storewide discounts will now have start and end dates. A great feature that comes with being able to set start dates is the ability to schedule a storewide sale to start in the future. Just hit cancel to end the storewide sale in the active promotions section.

Monday  5/12: The Storewide Sale Event

Now that you’ve seen all the improvements, let try them out! On Monday 5/12 OpenSky will feature stores that have set up a storewide discount. To participate, schedule a storewide discount at 25% off or more starting on Monday, 5/12 that ends in 48 hours. Please be sure to schedule your storewide discount by Thursday 5/8 EOD to be included.

3…2…1…OpenSky’s Birthday Countdown!

To celebrate the one year birthday of OpenSky’s Marketplace, shoppers will enjoy 9 days of amazing deals, specials, and promotions while we count it down to May 1.

IMPORTANT: This countdown is a surprise for shoppers, so keep it quiet!  But here’s a sneak peak so you have the 101 on how it’s all gonna work:

4/23- Day 1: Rewards Credit for Shoppers
4/24- Day 2: Rewards Credit (Day 2) + “Win $1000 OpenSky Shopping Spree” Member Sweepstakes
4/25- Day 3: Rewards Credit (Day 3) + Shoppers receive a special surprise
4/26- Day 4: Shop More, Save More – the more you spend, the more you save. Shoppers will be able to save up to 30% on their purchase via rewards credits delivered at checkout. This will be a one day, subsidized event with 10% of the discount funded by OpenSky!
4/27- Day 5: Sunday Splurge. Big time savings over 40% for 12 hours.
4/28- Day 6: Buy 1, Get 1 Collection. Shop BOGOs, BOHO and Gift With Purchase Promotions all day!
4/29- Day 7:  This one is a secret for everyone – check back for updates! 🙂
4/30- Day 8: Shop Today & Get Free Shipping for the Month of May
5/1- Day 9: Happy Birthday! A Super Secret Gift to All Shoppers!

Legal Basics For Your OpenSky Business, from our friends at Priori

The law has a serious impact on you as an online merchant—even if it’s the last thing you want to deal with.  We had our friends at Priori provide their best practices for some of the legal issues facing many emerging businesses. 

From protecting your creations against copycats to negotiating the best deals with vendors, getting legal right is crucial for your business. In the long run, investing in legal advice in the following areas can save you time and money.

1. Corporate Form. If you’ve never filed any paperwork to establish your business, you are probably running a sole proprietorship or partnership. While that might seem easy in the short-term (especially if you also have a day job) you may want to consider establishing your business as an LLC or corporation to minimize liability and protect your personal assets. A lawyer can evaluate your particular situation and recommend which arrangement is best for you.

Request your corporate lawyer today.

2. Vendor Agreements. As your business grows, you’ll probably work with a range of vendors to produce goods or source different materials. Lawyers help minimize the risks of these relationships by offering expertise in:

  • Drafting. Lawyers can create versatile templates for vendor agreements to allow deals and decisions to be made quickly, while limiting risk and liability.
  • Negotiating. Lawyers can advocate to remove detrimental clauses (example: impossibly short delivery time-frames) and achieve a better price overall.
  • Resolving Conflicts. When a dispute arises, it is imperative to seek legal advice quickly in order to assess your obligations and options for resolution.

3. Employees and Independent Contractors. If you hire employees or work with independent contractors to design, produce or sell your goods, lawyers can help with:

  • Drafting. When you hire employees or work with independent contractors, a lawyer can craft high-quality agreements that are tailored to your business. For example, a lawyer can help make sure that you own everything that your employee or contractor creates, and can address how your employee or contractor can use or display those works.
  • Worker Classification. Misclassifying someone who functionally is an employee as an “independent contractor” can be extremely costly. A lawyer can advise you on the rules and regulations for working with independent contractors to make sure you don’t wind up on the wrong side of a big tax bill.

Request your employment lawyer today.

4. Brand Protection. When you sell product online for the world to see, it is particularly important to protect your intellectual property from competitors and retain rights in your innovations. Consulting a lawyer can help you better understand your rights and what innovations you need to protect.

  • Trademarks. Any word, symbol, or phrase used to identify and distinguish your company’s products can receive federal registration and protection. As you establish your business with customers, you’ll want to protect your unique name and logo so you can build your brand.
  • Copyright. A copyright protects “original works of authorship.” While you do not need to file with the U.S. copyright office, it is recommended and might give you a leg up if there is an issue later. A lawyer can help guide you understand what to copyright and how to do it.
  • Patents. If your business has invented a non-obvious and novel product or business method, you could receive federal patent protection.
  • Copycats: Infringement. If you notice someone has co-opted all or part of your work, a lawyer can help guide you through the process of getting them to remove the infringing work—from a letter, hopefully, to litigation, if necessary. On the other hand, if someone has unjustly accused you of infringing, a lawyer can assist and protect your brand.

Request your intellectual property lawyer today.

Priori’s network of vetted lawyers have specialized experience handling these and any other legal issues your business may face. Request a lawyer through Priori for free, plus receive 50% off the Priori fee by mentioning OpenSky.

Learn the Lingo: OpenSky Promotional Events

OpenSky hosts innovative promotional events in order to drive more exposure and sales to Merchants. These Promotional events are a great way to bubble up savings to shoppers, and as result, get repeated periodically.

The newly-introduced Pitch Your Promotion form gives you an easy way to share your Promotional events with the OpenSky team so you can be considered for placement. Before you submit your best promotions, take a moment to walk through what it takes to qualify for some of our regularly scheduled events:

1) Sales Ending Soon

This email sends at the end of each day and includes sales that are active on the site but ending within the next 24 hours. There are a variety of factors that come into play here, but products with the larger discount will weigh heavy in the algorithm.

2) Sunday Splurge

The Sunday Splurge is one of the most highly shopped emails of the weekend (and the week). If you’re looking for a great way to boost sales and get your product in front of a large audience, this is a great event to apply for.

The requirements are simple:

  1. Products must be discounted a minimum of 40% off
  2. Minimum inventory of 10 units
  3. Sale will last for 12 hours, noon to midnight EST.
  4. Only one product per merchant will be accepted

Apply now for this week’s Sunday Splurge.

3) Lunch Time Rush

The Lunch Time Rush is quick and exciting promotion only lasts two hours — regularly between 2pm and 4pm ET. Products must be discounted by 20% and sales must end at 4pm ET.

4) DoorBusters- #doorbuster

Regularly, doorbusters exceed a 70% discount in some sort of a limited quantity. Doorbusters are meant for exactly what they sound like, getting customers in the door. As a result, they tend to be products with a much lower margin – effectively a marketing expense to get traffic to their store.

5) Buy One, Get One- #bogo

Commonly referred to as a BOGO offer, Buy One, Get One free sales are a great way to communicate sales messaging that includes the word “free” – this is bound to get someone’s attention every time. But be careful – not every item is a candidate for a BOGO sale. Do people really need two navy blue winter jackets?

6) Buy One, Get One Half Off

The cousin of BOHO is the commonly used Buy 1, Get 1 Half OFF sale.  It has a similar effect on the shopper on the BOGO, and is a bit kinder to your margin.

7) Gift With Purchase

This is a BOGO deal in disguise, and with more flexibility.  Think for the shopper and give them the opportunity to buy one item, and get a little something extra as an added bonus for buying.  If you sell Pancake Mix, throw in some Syrup for free. If you sell a necklace, throw in an affordable pair of earrings for free.  Give shoppers the nudge they need to buy in the moment.

8) Storewide Sale

Our Storewide Sales sales data suggests that these notifications have the potential to perform roughly 4x better then an individual product sales alerts. A Storewide Sale gives customers more choice and selection, while still driving home the impact of a limited time discount.

Ready to participate in one of these promotions? Check out the Pitch Your Promotion form to get featured.

*It’s important to remember that standard OpenSky exposure requirements still apply. If you’re interested in what basic requirements are needed for a product to be promoted by OpenSky please check out this article.

The Spring Friends and Family Sale

The weather is getting nicer by the day and you know what that means: Time for spring shopping!

Many of our friends and family members will need new sandals, clothing, outdoor serving and entertaining pieces, and more. Let’s help our favorite people spring into the new season in style with a Friends and Family coupon code.

When you invite anyone to OpenSky and they join through your link (OpenSky.com/STORENAME) they’re tagged as your member in our system. That means that this member and all purchases they make from you will be free-free for LIFE! (we even pay for the credit card fee!)

In addition, you’ll also receive 10% of what they spend when they shop from other merchants for the first year they’re on OpenSky (this comes from OpenSky’s commission).

So, you’ll actually be earning more money on those sales than you would have from your own website–and you’re helping to support another OpenSky business in the process!

Here are the details:

What:  The Friends & Family Coupon Code Promo
When: April 13th-April 23rd (leading up to the one year anniversary of the OpenSky marketplace)
How to participate: read below

Step 1: Select your discount and create a coupon code by going to your toolkit.

Step 2: Share it on social media sites and to your mailing lists. Tell your friends and family.

Step 3: Email merchant.success@opensky.com with:

      • The link to your shop
      • Your coupon code
      • The discount you’re offering.

Then Merchant Newsletter scheduled for Wednesday, April 16th will include all of the Friends and Family Coupon Codes that merchants have created, to date. All brands will have one week to shop with these discounts from their fellow merchants. Do your part to support your fellow Merchants!

Categorization: The Secret To Exposure

Categorizing your brand and products correctly is essential to providing the best shopping experience for OpenSky members.

When a product is categorized correctly, OpenSky is able to expose your products to members with purchase intent for that specific type of item.

In fact, in order for your products to be found on many of the most trafficked pages on OpenSky–i.e. the homepage, special collections, explore pages, collections–your items must be accurately categorized. 

Optimize your OpenSky sales today by making sure you’ve properly categorized your products. Here’s how to make those updates:

1) Set your Primary Business Category

In your Dashboard, hover over the Account tab and select Details.

On this page, select your Primary Business Category (just below your email address)

  • Fun
  • Health and Beauty
  • Home
  • Kids
  • Food and Kitchen
  • Men
  • Women

Select which area best describes the majority of your products. On occasion, a Merchant can fall into two categories.  Set the primary business category up to reflect the most likely way a shopper would browse to your brand. And then use product categorizations to give product level categorization.

2) Product categorization

In your Dashboard, click on the Products tab then click Edit.

Next, hit the Edit button next to “Product Info” (see below)

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 4.14.19 PM

From there, all you’ll need to do is set the category and sub categories (as seen below)

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 4.15.58 PM

Save the page and repeat this on all other products.

Once you’ve taken the time to categorize your products, you can have confidence in knowing that your brand will now be showcased to the OpenSky members most interested in purchasing your products.

Create a Smart Shipping Strategy that Drives Sales

eCommerce experts agree that the cost of shipping is arguably the biggest factor a shopper considers before hitting the “Buy Now” button.

As an online retailer, working to optimize your shipping strategy and costs should be a top priority.  Low shipping costs to the shopper means more orders for you, so it’s worth taking a little extra time to ensure this experience is as good as it can be.

Here are a few tips for creating a shipping strategy that helps you drive sales on OpenSky.

1) Take advantage of discounted shipping rates via the OpenSky/Fedex Alliance.

Use OpenSky’s exclusive partnership with Fedex to receive up to 30% off your Fedex shipping costs. Include code: VJ8HDM to claim your discount. Learn more about our Fedex partnership here

2) Utilize Tiered Shipping

Tiered shipping is a way for you to provide shipping discounts for every additional item a shopper adds to their shopping cart.

Tiered Shipping is set up when you first create a product, and can be edited at any point via your Merchant Toolkit. Tiered shipping has two elements that you must enter on all listings – a Primary Shipping Cost and an Additional Item Cost.

  • The Primary Shipping Cost is the amount a buyer pays when the item is shipped on it’s own.
  • The Additional Item Cost is the amount added to the cart of a shopper when items are purchased and shipped together.  Additional Item Costs apply when a buyer purchases multiples of the same product or different products from you at the same time.

Here’s an example:

  • Item 1
    • Primary Shipping Cost = $8.00
    • Additional Item Cost = $2.00
  • Item 2:
    • Primary Shipping Cost = $7.00
    • Additional Item Cost = $1.00
  • If Item 1 and Item 2 are purchased together, the total Shipping Cost to the buyer is $10.00. We use the highest primary Shipping Cost and it’s specified Additional Item Cost.
    • Primary Shipping Cost: $8.00 (higher of the two items)
    • Additional Item Cost: $2.00 (specified Additional Item Cost associated with the Primary Item)
  • If three of of Item 2 are purchased together, the total combined shipping cost to the buyer is $9.00. Here’s how it breaks out:
    • Primary Shipping Cost: $7.00
    • Additional Item Cost: $1.00 (2 items ordered) = $2.00
    • Total Shipping Cost: $9.00

Over charging on shipping may help you make quick cash but it will deter more and more fans from becoming buyers. Make it easy and create an incentive for an OpenSky member to buy multiple items from you at one time.

You can set up tiered shipping via the standard Product > Edit functionality in your Merchant Toolkit.

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 4.09.00 PM

Read more about tiered shipping here.

3) Bundle products to reduce shipping costs

Some Merchants are able to subsidize shipping on high priced products when they have more margin dollars. (i.e. when it costs $5 to ship an item that sells for $100, Merchants usually offer free shipping). If you have lower priced products, try bundling them together in order to increase the order value. Once the order value is high enough, give the customer a break on shipping by reducing the cost or shipping it for free. Reward a customer for spending more money with your brand. It’ll pay off in the long run.

Read more about bundling products here.

4) Opt-in to OpenSky’s Rewards Free Shipping Program

Visit the Promotions tab in your Merchant Toolkit to opt-in to the Rewards Free Shipping Program. When opted in, you will automatically participate in any sitewide free shipping event that’s planned by OpenSky (these happen only once or twice a month). These free shipping events drive a sizable lift in sales volume, and give more exposure to brands/products that participate in the Free Shipping Rewards program.

Learn more about our Credit and Free Shipping Rewards Programs

New Feature Promotion: Storewide Discount

You asked for it. We built it.

The first version of Storewide Discounts is officially live and we’re ready to celebrate this new feature with a two day event this week, promoting merchants who’d like to be the first to test the waters!

How do I participate?

Setup a storewide discount before Thurs at 6am ET, and keep it running through Saturday at 6am ET.

***Important: Don’t turn off your storewide discount at all during Thursday or Friday since you may be included in emails going out. Remember, west coast members may open their emails late in the days compared to east coasters.***

How do I secure email placement?

Emails sent to members on Thurs & Fri will be showcase merchants with the most compelling discounts, products and images.  To be considered for email placement, please email merchant.success@opensky.com with the following information.

1) Your OpenSky Store Link
2) The percentage off your entire store that will be running all day 2/27 and 2/28

*emailing us to say you’re participating does not guarantee email placement but will put you on the list of merchants considered

How do I create a Storewide Sale?

Set up a Storewide Sale on the Promotions tab of your Merchant Toolkit.  Read this help article on Storewide Sales to see a step by step rundown on how to set things up.

Click here to learn how to set up a Storewide Discount