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

 

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).

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.

More Control Over Your OpenSky Promotions

Discounts + Credits? Now it’s your choice.

We’ve updated the posting tool to give you the ability to run promotions and control whether credits can be applied for additional savings.

The brand new posting tool

Previously, discounts have always “stacked” with credits, which could lead to some unexpectedly large price deductions.

By clicking the new button (shown above) when setting up a promotion, shoppers will be able to use credits on the products specified by that promotion. When that button isn’t clicked, shoppers can’t apply credits to your product(s).

Use this feature to boost your sales! Now that you have greater control, increase your participation in the Rewards Credit program. The program drives over 50% of sales on OpenSky, and larger percentages drive more sales and get more exposure during credit events. Increase your percentage knowing that other discounts won’t be combined!

Great News! Notifications are here to stay.

After over 1 million notifications sent and more than $1mm in sales generated for the merchant community, we’re excited to announce that notifications are out of beta and live for all Merchants to use to grow their business.

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Notifications are a very clear and simple way for you to promote to your followers. By creating a simple promotional post, you’ll trigger an email and app notification to your followers.

new sale email

Here’s how they work:

+  Any post you create with one of the following promotions – 25% off or more, free shipping, exclusive sale, storewide sale – will trigger a notification (email and push).

In the end, the more followers you have, the more notifications will be sent.  Posts are your way to communicate directly with shoppers thereby triggering notifications that help drive sales.

Go make a Post.  Send a Notification.  Ship an Order.  Grow your business.

Need more info on Notifications? Read this Merchant Help article.

Introducing #FastShip

Introducing FastShip

Come December, the expectations for accurate and timely fulfillment are at an all-time high. But if you’re able to comfortably and confidently ship products late in the shopping season, take advantage of FastShip on OpenSky. Give shoppers piece of mind to shop late in the season by providing a shipping cut-off deadline on all your products with one click.

fastship

Enable FastShip in your Toolkit

  • Visit the Promotions tab in your Merchant Toolkit to enable FastShip.
  • Choose a shipping cut-off date for your products. By selecting a date, you guarantee anything ordered on or before this date will arrive in time for Christmas.

fastship

FastShip Banners

  • Once you save your FastShip settings, all your products will receive a red FastShip banner, visible to all shoppers.
  • We’ll also display a FastShip banner to the right of the Add to Cart button on product pages.

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Auto-Updated Product Details

  • Your product pages will get auto-updated with a shipping deadline for shoppers to reference.
  • For example, the details will now include messaging that reads “Order by Mon, Dec. 16th and you are guaranteed to receive this product by Christmas day.

Once FastShip is enabled, create a post using #FastShip to give shoppers the good news.

Enable FastShip

New Feature: Tiered Shipping

Reward Shoppers with Shipping Discounts

This week, we’re excited to announce a new feature that will help you provide a better shopping experience for Members.  It’s called Tiered Shipping.

What is 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 the standard Product > Edit functionality in 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.

Setting up Tiered Shipping

If you don’t want to offer a discounted combined shipping cost, you won’t need to make any changes in your toolkit.  But if you’d like to start extending this discount to your shoppers, head over to your toolkit, choose to edit a product and navigate to the ‘Shipping’ section for that item (review the image below if you’re unfamiliar)

tiered shipping

How does Tiered Shipping work?

Here’s an example of how Tiered Shipping works:

  • 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

Introducing #hashtags

Use hashtags in your posts to get your products discovered. On OpenSky and other networks, more people are creating – and clicking on – hashtags to link their posts to categories. Leverage this trend to give your posts more exposure and increase sales.

What is a hashtag?

  • Hashtags are words that begin with the # symbol, like #jewelry or #sale
  • To create a new hashtag, click to add a ‘New Post’ at the top of your Dashboard or Feed, and include one or more hashtags in the comment section.
Post a Promotion
Click to view a great posting a few different hashtags.

Linking Hashtags

  • We’ll automatically link posts & products that share the same hashtag.
  • We’re beginning to display trending hashtags to shoppers, to help more people find you.
  • They also work on Facebook & Twitter, so share your posts!

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New Feature: Customizable Products

If you sell customizable products, you can now easily sell them on OpenSky!  We have implemented a place for customers to be able to implement custom information for your personalized products!  It’s in your toolkit.  Here’s what the back end looks like:

Image

 

And here’s an example of a merchant already using the functionality:

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As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let us know – merchanthelp@opensky.com.

 

 

Exciting Updates – Your New Posting Tool!

Partners,

Last week we released a set of awesome improvements to make it easier for merchants to grow their businesses – our new Posting tool.

Using the Posting tool is super simple and effective. Now when you make a Post, you can: 

1. Add a photo or video
2. Tag to an item
3. Create a promotion (discount, flash sale, free shipping, etc.)
4. Share across Facebook, Twitter & OpenSky; you save time and reach all of your followers across all 3 social networks with 1 post!

A post a day will grow your business. Merchants posting frequently sell TEN TIMES more items than merchants who don’t post. And now it takes less than 60 seconds to make a Post.

So don’t delay, go to your OpenSky now and build your brand and sell your goods!

As always, we’re here to help. Please reach out if you have any questions or suggestions.

My best,

Will Hunt