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!

Now Live: Product-Specific Discounts, Product Identifiers & More

 

Product-Specific Discounts Now Available

Plus how we’re making your products easier to find.

You told us our new Best Deal Pricing was a little confusing, so we reworked it. Read on for details and see how you can now set discounts for specific products starting today regardless of the OpenSky promotion.

Plus, review a few other updates we made to make your products easier to find.

Max Product Discount Replaces Best Deal Price

We recently introduced Best Deal Pricing to give you a way to set maximum discounts for specific products, overriding your storewide Maximum Allowed Discount.

However, you told us Best Deal Pricing was confusing, so we reworked the design.

  1. We changed its name from “Best Deal Price” to “Max Product Discount.”
  2. You’ll now enter a percentage discount instead of a dollar amount, just like you do for your Maximum Allowed Discount.

You can enter a Max Product Discount in the same place where Best Deal Prices appeared: in your products’ “Price & Variations” sections under the OpenSky price.

Max Product Discounts will work just like Best Deal Pricing: They simply override your storewide Max Allowed Discount for specific products.

  • If you set a Max Product Discount for a listing, that product will always sell between the max discounted price and the OpenSky price.
  • If you leave it blank, we’ll use your storewide Maximum Allowed Discount setting instead. (You can find that setting in the “Settings” section of your “Marketing” tab.)
  • Pro tip: Want to allow discounts on most of your products, but not discount one or two items? Set those products’ Max Product Discount to 0% to disallow discounting and always sell the products at your OpenSky price.

Did You Already Enter a Best Deal Price?

To ease this transition, we found all the Best Deal Prices you already entered and calculated equivalent Max Product Discounts for those listings.

We calculated these percentages carefully, but you should double-check any Max Product Discounts you may have to ensure you’re happy with the values we entered. Be sure to do this soon because we’ll start using Max Product Discounts to calculate the price of your products starting today.

Always Sell at Your Max Discount

As you review your Max Product Discount, notice the new “Always sell this product at this discount” box. When you check it, your product will always sell at the calculated price once the Max Product Discount is applied, regardless of the OpenSky promotion.

For instance, if your product has an OpenSky price of $50 and you allow a Max Product Discount of 20%, you’d be allowing the product to be purchased at prices between $40 and $50, depending on what discount or coupon each shopper has available. If you check the box, you’ll always sell the product for $40 if the shopper has a discount.

Product Identifiers Are a Must

Now let’s talk search. As of Wednesday, you can add a product’s brand and universal product code (UPC) in the “Price & Variations” section, or by uploading a CSV file, or doing an import from Bigcommerce or Shopify.

Be sure to review your products and add that info to your current items and future ones you create. These product identifiers are huge when it comes to search and many sites require them.

Plus, you get 2 major benefits by including brands and UPCs:

  1. Shoppers can find your products more easily.
  2. Product identifiers help us market your products more effectively.

Optimize Your Photos for Variations

Finally, we also updated our Co-Pilot ads to use product images for variations. This should increase your advertising return on ad spend (ROAS).

To benefit from this change, be sure to include images of the different variations you offer in your listings. For instance, if you sell a set of jewelry and shoppers can pick between a blue and a purple set, include at least one photo of each set.

You can set images for your variations in your products’ “Price & Variations” sections or in a CSV file if you’re doing a product import.

From Auctiva EDU & The OpenSky Merchant Blog

And the Winners Are…

Congratulations to Lisa B. of South Dakota, Jeanette C. of Minnesota, Edith T. of California and Scott M. of New York for winning our $50 Visa gift cards for taking our reader survey! And a huge thanks to everyone who participated. Your feedback will help us focus on the topics that matter most to you.

Merchant Newsletter | March 14, 2016

Simplified Promos Are Live! Plus, How to Get the Biz Funding You Need & More

Welcome to Simplified Promos

Plus, respond to reviews like a pro & learn about funding that can help your biz grow.

Good news! Promos are officially simplified as of today. Learn more about how this new approach will benefit you and save you time.

Not sure how to respond to product reviews? We’ve got tips on how to do it well. Plus, if you need funding to grow your business, our new partnership can help.

Simplified Promos Are Here

Our new simplified approach to promotions started today, and that means:

  1. Discounts and Credits will no longer “stack.” Shoppers will only be able to use one or the other when they buy from you.
  2. You’ll only have to set one maximum discount for all of your products to be eligible for our marketing promotions.
  3. Welcome to hands-free promos! We’ll create all promotions going forward and they will be sitewide.

Be sure to check your new Maximum Allowed Discount (the maximum discount you’ll give all of your products during a promotion) on your new “Settings” page of your “Marketing” tab in your Merchant Toolkit.

As you’ll recall, we set this for you based on your Credit and Sitewide Coupon Code ceilings so your products can be eligible for OpenSky promotions.

You can make any adjustments you’d like. Just keep in mind that the higher your discount, the more promos your products will be eligible for.

A few other things changed, too, as we retired:

  • New Follower, Loyalty, Love and Beta Discounts
  • The “Customers” section
  • All mentions of creating or posting promos
  • Any storewide and product-specific promos you had going
  • And individual Credits for inviting friends to OpenSky

If you missed our last newsletter, check it out to see the full details about our simplified OpenSky promotions.

Respond to Reviews the Right Way

As your products get reviewed, you may find yourself wanting to respond to answer a shopper’s question, clear up confusion or just provide more information. And you should! Responses can be the determining factor for future shoppers as they decide whether they’ll buy.

Not sure how to compose your response? Here are some tips:

  • Explain: If a reviewer has a question or needs more information on your product, give the shopper the insight he or she seeks. This will help the reviewer and future shoppers, too.
  • Be precise: Only address the reviewer’s concerns. Don’t respond to multiple reviews in one response. Specific information is much more helpful. Plus, it shows you’ve heard your shopper.
  • Don’t take reviews personally: We all have opinions, and we should all be able to voice them. We’ll never publish reviews that contain personal attacks, and we’ll follow the same rule when it comes to responses. If something really upsets you, wait a few minutes to cool off and then respond.

Keep in mind that we review all responses before we post them, so you may want to check out our response guidelines as you craft your comments.

Get the Business Funding You Need

Businesses often need additional money to grow, and our recent partnership with Kabbage can make getting funds easier.

Apply today for a line of credit from Kabbage of up to $100,000 based on your business’ real-time data. Use the line of credit to buy more inventory, stock your shipping supplies or boost your Co-Pilot marketing efforts. Use the funds to take your business to the next level.

You won’t pay any fees to establish your line of credit. You’ll only pay fees on the funds you take, and qualified merchants can get access to funds in minutes.

More than 50,000 businesses have trusted Kabbage to help them grow. Apply today!

From Auctiva EDU & The OpenSky Merchant Blog

How To Stay Relevant

Listening is a must.

By Dennis L. Prince

How do you stand out in a sea of merchants? By being relevant, of course. For businesses, that means establishing a presence and process to become part of your shoppers’ lives. Read Story

Ink Master

PowerSeller talks tricks and staying on top

By Brad and Debra Schepp

Ron Saxton has been selling online for 18 years. In that time he’s tested the waters on Amazon, but both he and his current employer agree that eBay is the best fit for their business model. Read His Story

Merchant Newsletter | February 18, 2016

Promos Are Simplified. Set Your Limit and Go.

What’s Your Max Discount for Promos?

Let us know and learn how we’ll simplify promos starting February 18.

At OpenSky, you’re our top priority. It’s important to us that our tools are easy to use, that you sell products at the price you want and that you never have to worry about over-discounting your products when we run promotions.

It’s for those reasons that we’re streamlining promotions on February 18, 2016. On that date, you’ll notice several changes, including:

  1. Discounts and Credits will no longer “stack.” Shoppers will only be able to use one or the other when they buy from you.
  2. You’ll only have to set one maximum discount for your products to be eligible for our successful marketing promotions.

Why Are We Doing This?

To protect you from over-discounting your products and make things easier. Some promotions “stacked” while others didn’t, and it was hard to keep it all straight. As a result, sometimes your products sold for less than you wanted.

We get it. Credit and Sitewide Coupon Code ceilings were confusing and it was hard to know what ceilings would best serve your growing business. So now you’ll just tell us the maximum discount you’ll give all of your products in your new “Settings” page. Then you can focus more on your business.

We’ll Set a Maximum Discount for You

To ensure your products are eligible for OpenSky promotions when the changes debut, we’ll set your Maximum Allowed Discount for you. Be sure to review it on February 18 and feel free to make adjustments.

Just keep in mind that the higher your discount, the more promos your products are eligible for. For example, if your Maximum Allowed Discount is 20%, your products are eligible for inclusion in:

  • Sale on Sale Credit Events
  • Sitewide Sale Credit Events
  • Any Coupon Codes for 20% or lower

If your Maximum Allowed Discount is set to 50%, your products can be included in:

  • Sale on Sale Credit Events
  • Sitewide Sale Credit Events
  • Any Coupon Codes for 50% or lower
  • Discount Dollar promos
  • General Credit Events
  • Half Off Events

Calculating Your Max Discount

We’ll base your Maximum Allowed Discount on your current Credit and Sitewide Coupon Code ceilings. If those values differ, we’ll set the max discount to the lower of the two, unless one of those values is set to 0% and the other is something greater. In that case, we’ll use the higher percentage.

Other Changes You’ll See in Your Toolkit

As we take this streamlined approach to promotions, you’ll notice that your Merchant Toolkit will look differently beginning February 18.

  • We’ll retire New Follower, Loyalty, Love and Beta Discounts.
  • We’ll remove the “Customers” section.
  • We’ll remove all mentions of creating or posting promos.
  • And you’ll no longer be able to create sales or Coupon Codes for your store, or products.
  • Only OpenSky will be able to create promotions and these will be sitewide promos.

Why Are We Ending Store & Product Promos?

We know change can be scary, but we honestly believe this will benefit you. In our research, we’ve found that our sitewide promotions generate far more sales than storewide discounts, promos and coupons. So by focusing on sitewide promos you’ll get the best marketing results with little effort. We’ll do the work for you.

As a result of this change, storewide and product-specific promos will automatically expire as will individual Credits for inviting friends to OpenSky on February 18.

Want to know more? See full details about our changes to OpenSky promotions.

From Auctiva EDU & The OpenSky Merchant Blog

A Real Gem

Seller turns love for precious gems into profits.

By Brad and Debra Schepp

Merchant David Saad is happy to contribute to people’s long love of looking their best. “The oldest jewelry found was some shells and beads from 100,000 years ago,” he tells us. “As soon as humans had any spare time, they started adorning themselves.” Read Story

Stay In Love With Your Biz

Easy steps to reignite the passion

By Dennis L. Prince

Ever wonder if you really do feel that same flutter you did when you first fell head over heels in love with the idea of running your own business? See how to fan that flame and keep the love alive. Read Story

Merchant Newsletter | February 10, 2016

Be Part Of Our Cyber Week Promos

cyber-monday-blog

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?