Relentless Simplicity - The Bonanza Blog
Welcome to the Bonanza Blog! Here you will find all the latest news about our online marketplace, with timely stories about how to get the most out of your selling online and effectively manage your online shop.
Rich Pins from Pinterest are now live on Bonanza. There is no difference in the way you use this feature on Bonanza. The only difference is that when you Pin an item from Bonanza, it will now include more information about the item when it is pinned on Pinterest. Buyers like more information. A big thank you to Marsha from MyTexasTreasures for this suggestion and to Eric for programming it! Here are some tips from our dear friend Google, on how to use this feature to your advantage.
On another note, sales are popping on Bonanza (that means we are having a heavy volume of sales)! Our support team is bombarded with Bonanza sellers asking the same question over and over, "How can I be a better seller, especially during this high volume sales period?" So much so that we though we would include a list of the most popular questions your buyers have when they contact support.
When will my item be shipped? Sellers can already provide this information to buyers directly on Bonanza. Just go to your items sold page, find the transaction and mark it as shipped. You will be prompted to enter a tracking... (continued)
It's hard to believe that we are less than 3 weeks away from Cyber Monday and Black Friday. We have already noticed a steady bump in traffic and sales so all hands on deck! In keeping with tradition, we would like to announce that we are changing our search algorithm. Ha! Just kidding...I crack myself up! Actually we have been spending quality time the past 2 weeks tending to bugs and improvements on Bonanza, so your buyers (and our sellers) will have the best experience possible.
The following list is only a summary of recently completed tasks:
- Make eBay importer smarter for shipping, traits, and categories. Our importers are getting full programmer love because importing your listings properly will mean less work for you and a more accurate buying experience
- Make our category guesser and price guesser wicked smart
- Improve our background burner
- Enhance our CSV Importer
- Speed up and enhance search results page. Make search smarter about number queries
- Make it so that favorite booths are removed from your profile page when the favorite booth no longer exists
- Take multiple passes at shopping cart to ensure we are offering the most trouble free cart experience (also decreased checkout steps... (continued)
I wanted to update everyone on some recent efforts we've made to promote diversity and reduce redundancy in search results.
Say you wanted to search for "candle" in our old search:
They certainly look like candles! But all is not quite as well as it seems. Firstly, many of these results aren't actually candles, but candle holders. The first thing we need to do is figure out if the buyer intended to buy a candle or a candle holder. The second problem is that the likelihood you'll find exactly what you're looking for in these 8 results is extremely low. Instead of settling for arbitrary results (as other marketplaces have always done), we decided to try to come up with something better:
Notice how the results are now separated into groups that help the buyer quickly drill down to find what they're really after. Some of the groups are candle holders, some are candles. Some of the brands are handmade by our sellers ("Soytreasures LLC Candle"), some are major brands ("Yankee Candle"). Suddenly, instead of having a mix of eight arbitrary candles and candle handlers, we are representing more than 800 possible items to browse from our top... (continued)
Greetings Bonanzalers. It's that time of the week where we communicate to you what we are working on at headquarters. In case you have not seen our Sprint List before, it is basically a to do list that we use each week to help us stay on task. Fixing bugs are always a given as is normal site maintenance. Following is what we are working on this week:
- Actively improve search (in its current format, meaning that we are not changing it, were are just making sure it is working as it should be)
- Address importer bug (resolved)
- Get International Google Shopping feeds working (UK enabled, AU to follow). If you ship internationally and ship to the UK then your items are eligible to be fed to Google Shopping UK. If you already have advertising enabled then there is nothing more you need to do. If not, go here and click on "Start advertising now" to be included. We expect this feed to be active in 48-72 hours, maybe sooner.
- Allow sellers recent sales to be searched by filter by customer first and/or last name
- Make membership upgrades instant (this will be an added option vs having to wait for... (continued)
Being a social marketplace, it is important that we continue to introduce enhancements that tie in with the social aspect of Bonanza and also empower our sellers to make more sales. If we can also make a buyers path to checkout easier then we all win. Super happy to announce that as of tomorrow morning, Bonanza sellers will be able to create custom invoices via Bmail to send to your buyers (Thank you Jordan).
Many sellers close sales via Bmail (Bonanza email). But the trip from Bmail to checkout is not guaranteed, and a buyer may be distracted away from checkout due to a multitude of reasons (making dinner, picking up kids from school, browsing Bonanza, etc). Starting tomorrow morning, when a buyer emails you via your item detail page, you will see a link in their email where you can create an offer for them for that item.
When you click on that link you will open the custom offer window. Extra bonus is that you can customize the offer to add more items from your booth.
- Enter your buyer's user name in this field (will be automatically populated)
- Enter the total price of... (continued)
Happy Monday to everyone on Bonanza-land and beyond. We have a great list of goals for this week, including several tools that will further empower our selling community. We also have a few "behind the scenes" treats that we have planned. So without further ado, our sprint list (goals) for this week:
- Beat the San Francisco 49ers and leave no doubt who is the best in the NFL West (completed 9/15/13)
- Break the world record for the loudest sports stadium (completed 9/15/13)
- Spend quality time on bugs
- Allow invoices to be created via Bmail
- Create a way for sellers to search their Bmail
- Spend time improving API
- Improve visibility of Google specific traits
- Finish the Google Shopping feeds for the UK and AU
- Various levels of advertising (Nothing specific that we can mention but a few here, a few there :) )
- Continue progress on allowing sellers to accept credit cards
As mentioned at the beginning, we have a few other items that are are not able to disclose that we are also working on. Whatever your goals are for the week, we wish you the best in accomplishing them! Please post any questions in the blog comments... (continued)
In our effort to keep you informed of the on-goings on Bonanza, we wanted to write a special Friday edition of our blog to let you know about three items we have just made live on the site.
Google Checkout button removed from checkout. Google has retired Google Checkout and has no plans to offer an alternative checkout product. Because of this we have removed the Google Checkout button from our shopping cart effective today. We hope to work towards offering the ability for our sellers to accept credit cards and will be sure to update you when we have more news. In the meantime, if Google Checkout was your only payment option then we would suggest setting up PayPal and or Checkout by Amazon for your Bonanza buyers. We will also send an email out to all of our sellers about these important changes.
Google Shopping. Google Shopping is a great sales channel so constantly monitoring our feeds and looking for opportunities to enhance our shopping feeds is something that we work on often. We are looking at expanding our Google Shopping feed to include other countries that Google Shopping is adding. Stay tuned for updates... (continued)
The entire Bonanza team is working on all cylinders and our "Get Stuff Done (GSD)" motto is being fully exercised. We have some lofty goals this week. Here are some of the initiatives we are working on:
- Work on advertising channels (actively contacting)
- Create International Google Shopping Feeds
- Allow invoices to be created via Bmail
- Enhance checkout payments to include multiple merchants
- Research with our users how we can make Bonanza better
- Bug fixes and maintenance.
While we are on the subject on how we can make Bonanza better, have you taken a moment to stop by our feedback page and let us know what you think? This page has the eyes of our CEO and founder Mr. Bill Harding! When leaving feedback, you should keep it short and to the point if possible.
Can anyone remember Saturday morning cartoons and School House Rock? Do they even make things like this anymore?
We've been making such rapid progress lately that I haven't had time to blog about everything new, but here are a handful of our new features launched during the past week.
Free Referral Traffic
Through the end of August (and possibly beyond, if we get sufficient response) we are allowing sellers to sign up for a special offer where no fees are paid for buyers that arrive at Bonanza from your website or blog through 2018. The link to sign up lives on your My Bonanza page:
Once you click through, you'll end up at a page that asks for the URL of your website and gives you a reference code to include to get free sales (i.e., no final value fee). This continues our belief that you should only have to pay for whatever it costs to acquire a buyer. If you send a buyer to Bonanza, it costs us nothing, so why should you get charged for it? Well, if you sign up for this offer, you won't. Cool!
As far as Sprints go, this has got to be our largest one since I can remember (a "Sprint" is what our programming team is working on this week). A few highlights from this sprint are:
- Improve and add channels so that sellers can easily sync between their inventory managers
- Referral traffic incentives
- Allow arbitrary item reviews for A+ reviewers
- Improve payments
- Allow invoices to be created via Bmail
- Improve buyer protection information page
- Get desk set up, learn Ping Pong, don't jaywalk (this is specifically for Jason who starts on Tuesday)
- Identify additional advertising channels
- Finish updating our 10 most visited help pages
- Create a new tier of membership
There are many other items on the list but they are super boring and include a bunch of terms that I have only seen on the back of my TV input area. If you are fixing to go on vacation, travel safe. If you are getting your kids ready for school, good on you. Whatever you are doing this week in August, thank you for taking the time to read our blog and catch up on what we are doing behind the scenes on Bonanza.
Thanks to the help of our buying community, adoption of Kaleidoguide has gotten off to a smashing start, and it's time to start reaping the rewards. As of our next site update, we'll be increasing the visibility of buyer reviews on the standard item page:
33 reviews already?! Great work, TallulahSoaps!
We have been running A/B tests on this idea for the past couple weeks and the results have conclusiuvely shown a meaningful benefit in conversion for sellers with great products. Especially when a buyer is deciding whether to buy an item from a smaller merchant (such as one participating in our Seller Brands program) whose brand they don't recognize, seeing 4 or 5-star product reviews is a crucial boost to getting new buyers to click the green button ("Add to cart").
Some of the questions we expect you might ask:
When do reviews show up under an item? When do they not?
This is actually a trickier question than you might think, because we need to be wary of showing a lackluster product review unless we are certain the review is relevant to the product being sold. Thus, we have created a number of safeguards to minimize... (continued)
When the weather gets as nice as it has been in Seattle, our team starts jonesing for some outdoor time. It's a miracle that we have a full house this week and with a full house that means a full to do list (aka Sprint). Here is what we are working on this week:
- Step up planning of catalog marketing
- Improve visibility of product reviews
- Speed up Google Shopping feed Submission that has been dragging
- Allow invoices to be created via Bmail
- A/B testing with reviews
- Continue to help sellers improve item picture quality
- Create way to help sellers improve their descriptions
- Improve sellers user name options when creating a booth
There are also a bunch of tasks that are not included on the list. They are either top secret or they included too many programming terms that I could not understand enough to translate. As always, any bugs reported are also included on this list.
Today we're excited to be launching a new feature that will empower small seller brands to compete on the same playing field as the big guys. In this blog, we'll be referring to "brands" specifically in the context of who created/manufacturer the product in question.
As part of Bonanza's new product catalog (aka "kaleidoguide"), we have been inventorying every brand that exists across our 5 million products past and present. We now have catalog pages for tens of thousands of different brands, with customer ratings in place for more and more brands every day.
Who does this update matter for?
Any merchant who creates their own products (i.e., handmade vendors) or those who have created their own supply chain to get products created on their behalf (i.e., many of our custom t-shirt sellers) can benefit from building their own brand identity. The benefits of owning a brand will no longer be limited to corporations with factories and warehouses. What are those benefits? Glad you asked.
Benefits of building a brand
- Build a reputation for quality that leads to positive customer reviews, higher sellthrough, and more sales
- Get customers hooked on your brand, charge a premium price for... (continued)
Just a brief note to let you know that as of yesterday, some buyers on Bonanza were reporting a checkout error when trying to make purchases on Bonanza while using PayPal as a payment option. The error, "PayPal Error 10417," looks like this (see below) and is normally associated with a high risk calculation on PayPal (high risk items like electronics, etc). We confirmed that that is not the case on Bonanza as there are no common factors with the transactions in error.
We immediately directed all resources on Bonanza to identify the trouble and found that this was an issue on PayPal's side. PayPal has escalated this incident to their engineers and we hope to have a resolution shortly. In the meantime, we have created a banner at checkout that will explain to your buyers what is happening and also to help direct them in the case that they get the above error. The fix for now is to have them use an alternative payment option (Google Wallet, or Checkout by Amazon). If PayPal is your only option then you can manually mark the transaction as paid on Bonanza and reconcile the financial portion of the transaction... (continued)
Happy Monday awesome Bonanzlers! Just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know what we are working on this week. We did not have a sprint this week (a sprint is a list of goals we have for the week) because we already have a full list of tasks to address from our last sprint. We also have many behind the scenes tasks that need programming love (in addition to bugs that have been reported).
One thing we did change today was the social hot buttons on the item detail page. Before the buttons were all visible by default, now they are only accessible by clicking on the "Share" icon (see below image). This was changed so we can clean up the item detail page (we are big fans of decluttering things), and also because the traffic received via these channels makes up a very small percentage of our overall traffic (given the valuable real estate they took up on that page). Does this mean that Social Media does not work? Absolutely not. In fact there are many articlesout there that will guide you in the best way to use social media for your eCommerce business.... (continued)