Be of Good Cheer: Affirmations for busy holiday sellers

Yogood-cheer-osu’re going, going, going all through the busy holiday season. If sales are up and your process is running smoothly, you surely have a friendly wind at your back.

But what if things are a bit bumpy? What if you’re working yourself in circles but aren’t getting the results you want? When failed expectations combine with the holiday flurry, you could be in danger of going full-on Scrooge before the season is over.

Relax, and remind yourself of a few things that will prove you’re doing better than you realize and that you’re in full control. Here are some happy thoughts, if you will, that you should run through your mind during this most challenging season of the year.

“I’m using a schedule to use the time as best I can.”

One of the most common stresses of the season is the demand on time. You’re working to an immovable date (for whatever it is you celebrate), and there’s no rescheduling it.

Read the entire article on Auctiva EDU.

Why Shoppers Abandon Their Shopping Carts

abandoned-cart-osThe term “cart abandonment” makes many online sellers a little queasy. Orphaned carts represent lost income.

But that income may or may not be lost forever. The purchase could occur down the line or the item(s) will simply remain in the shopping cart.

Why do shoppers abandon their carts? We talked to several experts, who shared some common causes and told us how you can curve cart abandonment as much as possible.

So, what are the reasons?

Adi Bittan, co-founder and CEO of OwnersListen, a site that lets business owners communicate directly with their customers, says one reason shoppers abandon their carts could be that they don’t have enough information to make a confident purchase.

Read the entire article on Auctiva EDU.

What You Can Learn From The Holiday Shopping Season

holiday-lessons-osThe 2015 holiday shopping season is here and, more than ever, people are talking about all the shopping they’re doing online.

But how are brick-and-mortars doing these days and what trends can we discern from the shopping season so far?

We took our Santa caps off for a moment and replaced them with thinking caps to find out. Here’s what we learned.

Why bust a door?

ShopperTrak, which claims to be the leading tracker of shoppers and “consumer behavior insights and location-based analytics,” estimated brick-and-mortar retail from Thanksgiving to Nov. 29 yielded about $20.43 billion in total sales—an estimated 10.4 percent decrease compared to 2014.

Read the entire article on Auctiva EDU.

Merchant Spotlight: Amaryllis

Ben and Anita copyBen Tabai operates Amaryllis on OpenSky with his girlfriend and business partner, Anita Shokouhi. Since they live a life so often attached to their cellphones, Tabai had become quite fascinated with mobile browsing as a way to pass the time, explore, feed his curiosity and inspire a business.

“The mobile-browsing phone is now an extension of our bodies,” he tells us. “Getting into e-commerce was a given to me.” The question that remained was simply, how?

“I was lying in bed one night and viewing Groupon Deals on my phone,” Tabai recalls. “I came across the ‘Goods’ section and saw items being sold in the thousands over a span of a few days. I already had prior experience with importing goods, so I thought, ‘Why not jump on this opportunity?'”

Tabai’s next step was to reach out to Sholouhi to discuss the idea of selling fashion products in large volume online, and that was how Amaryllis got its start.

Read the entire article on Auctiva EDU.

The Psychology Of The Sell

Woman holding colorful shopping bags in snowy nightIt doesn’t take a twirling gold pocket watch or a mysteriously flashing strobe to get into the minds of your buyers and encourage them to buy more of your goods. Actually, there’s nothing very hypnotic about employing everyday psychology to help you sell more to your shoppers.

Selling at the psychological level is nothing new in marketing or merchandising, yet many sellers overlook some of the most basic tenets of connecting with shoppers and encouraging them to make a purchase—or two, or five.

Selling with psychology is good business and the good news is that it’s not difficult to do.

Read the entire article on Auctiva EDU.

Should You Pack Green?

should-you-pack-green-os“Going green” isn’t a new trend for businesses. The idea can apply to a single part of a business or a set of practices designed to reduce your environmental footprint.

Mandy Nagel, founder of I Thought of You, a site that sells handmade products, elegantly summed up what green means to her, “As a ‘green’ business, we consider how every aspect of our product’s lifecycle will affect the planet.”

One of the most important ways businesses can choose to be greener regards packaging. We took a closer look at the topic and found that environmental benefits are not the only reasons why companies are taking the green route.

Read the entire article on Auctiva EDU.

Merchant Spotlight: Amelia’s Expressions

expressions-2
Linda Funk, the owner of Amelia’s Expressions, wanted to be an entrepreneur. Already working in in direct sales through Pampered Chef, she felt frustrated by running a business that wasn’t really her own.

“I wanted something unique,” she says. Having had a long interest in jewelry, Funk decided to explore a line of personalized jewelry. Once she decided what she’d like to sell, she put her research skills to the test.

“I searched the Web to find information about things I could make,” she says.

As Funk found interesting pieces, she tested them on social media. Soon her Facebook friends began to ask where they could get the pieces and how much they cost. And so her business was off. Funk opened her business first on Etsy in February 2013. That November she opened a store on OpenSky.

Read the entire article on Auctiva EDU.

Be Part Of Our Cyber Week Promos

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The holidays are here! Soon shoppers will be busy making their lists, checking them twice—and buying like crazy! And we’ll be busy emailing them to remind them of all the great items they can buy on OpenSky.

Shoppers will be especially busy on Cyber Monday, but they’ll start buying even before that.

Last year, about 134 million people shopped online and in stores during the Thanksgiving weekend, reports the National Retail Federation. And people shopped earlier in the turkey week, too. This year should be similar, and we want you to get a piece of the Christmas pie, so we’re running Credit and Sitewide Coupon Code Events throughout Cyber Week, the week leading up to Cyber Monday.

Our promos start Monday, November 23, and run through Cyber Monday, November 30. See our events below:

  • November 23: Sale on Sale Credit Event
  • November 24: Flash $31 Credit Event
  • November 25: Half Off Sale. Items 50% off MSRP or more (when Credits are applied) will be included in this sitewide event
  • November 26, Thanksgiving: 30% Off Coupon Code Event
  • November 27, Black Friday: 40% Off Coupon Code Event
  • November 28, Small Business Saturday: 30% Off Coupon Code Event
  • November 29, Cyber Sunday: $150 Credit Event
  • November 30, Cyber Monday: $250 Credit Event

As we run these promos, we’ll email the millions of shoppers who visit OpenSky.com every day to let them know about our great deals.

We expect this to generate lots of traffic, and we want you to benefit by allowing shoppers to save when they visit OpenSky during those days and buy from you. All you have to do is opt in to Credits and Sitewide Coupon Codes if you aren’t already.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Visit the “Settings” section of your “Marketing” tab.
  2. Set your Credit ceiling to at least 30% to ensure your products are eligible for all our Cyber Week Credit Events.
  3. Set your Sitewide Coupon Code ceiling to at least 40% to be included in both our 30% off Coupon Code Events and our huge Black Friday 40% Off Coupon Code Event. (Note: Setting your limit to 40% means your products will only be 40% off for our Black Friday Event, not any time before or after that during Cyber Week.)
  4. Save your settings.

Then get ready for the traffic!

Want another reason to opt in? This year each shopper is expected to spend an average of $805.65, the NRF reports. Sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it?

Save Time & Money During the Holidays

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Veteran online sellers shared some of their time-tested ways for smoothing the path through the holidays. They showed us how to plan for our own holiday celebrations last time we spoke.

This time they’ve tell us about saving time and keeping sales soaring. Their advice comes down to two basics: solid infrastructure and good time management. They start with your inventory and shipping operation, but there are some good moves to make with your listings as well.

Organize your items

“Do inventory now,” says eBay seller Kathy Keefe of Sassy’s Savings. “Make sure it is organized and can be easily found when sold.”

Keefe recommends using plastic tubs or banker boxes, and suggests you use the custom label field for locating the item.

Prep your shipping supplies

But it isn’t just your inventory that needs to be well organized. Many sellers recommended taking a hard look at your shipping operation, too. Keefe agrees.

“Take inventory of your shipping supplies, ” she suggests. “Organize boxes and envelopes by size. Having your shipping area streamlined and organized can save countless hours. ”

Top Rated eBay seller Cie-Bay says you should order free boxes from USPS now and stock up on tape, labels, bubble wrap, and other supplies you’ll need. “You won’t have time to get any of those things once the holiday sales go into full swing,” she adds.

Schedule mail pickups

Being well supplied is a great way to start, but you’ve got some other strategies you can take, too.

“If you can use USPS carrier pickup, log on to USPS.com now and order daily pickups for the next few months,” says Donna MacMurray-Klein, who manages a popular Facebook Group on selling online. “If you are not using a thermal printer for postage, consider getting one. They’re fast and actually pay for themselves quickly.”

She likes the Dymo 450. MacMurray-Klein’s advice is to evaluate how you can keep maximum accuracy, but gain the most efficient process.

Time management helps

Another crucial step on the path to a sane holiday season is time management. Luckily, our experts have wisdom to share about that, too.

“Plan and do so now, ” says veteran online seller Kathy Terrill. “I use Google calendar. I put everything on it, including how much I plan to pin daily on Pinterest, to when I want to launch auctions and the duration of the auctions.”

Technology makes planning ahead even easier. “Set up your social marketing campaigns in advance using one of the social media management applications,” Keefe says. She recommends Hootsuite, Buffer and Social Oomph.

“Set your promotion schedule and have your graphics ready in advance,” she continues.

Look back to last year

Keefe also recommends looking at your past sales to plan for this season. Although every year is different, looking back over sales records can help you predict and plan for what’s likely to be your busiest period again. With this in mind, you can easily change some things to smooth out the crunch time.

Keefe starts with the practical, part of your weekly time at work. “Try to have a specific time for shipping set aside,” she says. “It’s better to overestimate than to underestimate the time you will spend on this task.”

She also recommends setting a cutoff date for guaranteed arrival by Christmas and making sure that detail is apparent in all your listings.

Remember, you and your staff are not the only ones who are busy this time of year. The closer we get to the season, the busier your customers are, too. “Think like your buyer,” says MacMurray-Klein. “Holiday shoppers tend to be crunched for time and want to cross gifts off their lists.”

So offer a variety of shipping options. “If your listings don’t use calculated shipping, revise them and offer your buyers three mailing options: slow (First Class or Parcel), Priority, and Express,” MacMurray-Klein advises. “This allows your buyers in a hurry to simply upgrade their postage without nagging you. Enter the shipping methods in order of slowest to fastest, so they display right.”

MacMurray-Klein also had some advice to make your life as a seller easier. “As time becomes scarcer, end any listings that are really time consuming to prepare for packing unless, they’re super high profit,” she adds.

Those are likely to make any seller’s holiday happier!

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.