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

 

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.

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!

Are You Reaching Your Promoting Potential?

Are you reaching your promoting potential?Instantly Increase Your Sales Potential By Promoting Regularly

Did you know you have free and easy marketing tools right at your fingertips? In your Merchant Toolkit, you can create Posts, coupon codes, storewide discounts and opt in to our highly successful Credit Rewards Program. Whether you’re a brand new merchant (welcome!) or an experienced seller, it’s important to brush up on the many ways you can instantly increase your sales potential and ensure you’re maximizing your reach on a regular basis.

Here are some easy ways to take advantage of your built-in marketing tools:

The Credit Rewards Program: Hands-Free Marketing

Make sure you’ve opted in to the Credit Rewards Program! Join other successful merchants and increase your exposure without lifting a finger.

Here’s how it works:

  • Customers can use “credits” to shop on OpenSky. These can either be earned or given during our high-traffic promotions called Credit Events.
  • By opting in to the Credit Rewards Program, you’ll automatically be promoted during Credit Events, and customers will be able to take a certain percentage off your products (20%-70%) using their credits.
  • You can set your credit level by choosing your desired percentage. (You can change this credit limit at any time.)

Remember, only enrolled merchants can take advantage of Credit Events and you can opt out at any time.

Posts: Your Most Powerful (& Free!) Marketing Tool

Have you Posted lately? If not, you may be missing out on your most powerful—and free—marketing tool.

  • Posts are simple communications that are fast, free and easy to create.
  • Posts broadcast across your followers’ feeds on OpenSky and social channels.
  • You instantly increase your sales potential when you post.
  • Emails triggered to OpenSky shoppers from Posts are twice as good at driving sales than general marketing emails because messages are tailored to each shopper.

Learn more about Posts here.

Posts with a Punch: Best Practices

  • Post about your best and most popular products.
  • Create best-selling Posts by including beautiful imagery and limited-time promos.
  • It’s OK, talk about yourself! Include product-related tips and inspiration, and behind-the-scenes features such as tours of your space.

Want some easy examples to get you started? Get inspiration here.

All Hail the #Hashtag: Increase Your Posting Power

  • Hashtags are an easy addition to your Posts and automatically link to other content that has the same hashtag.
  • By adding hashtags to all your Posts, you make them more discoverable to shoppers browsing trending hashtags.

Cash in on trending hashtags by familiarizing yourself with hashtags that sell.

Ready to get started? Put together a weekly schedule of Posts (just remember to post properly and keep the content fresh for your customers), and get going on an easy (and fun!) way to get the word out about your amazing products and story.

You can always refer to these helpful tutorials for everything you need to know about posting. As we head into the holiday season (yes, it’s still hot out but it’s time to start preparing), you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the promotional tools that will come in handy during the height of the shopping season.

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