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.

Using Customer Data to Build Your Business

Hey everyone! Grace here. I'm a member of Bonanza's Communications Team. You might recognize my name from the Spotlight Series we ran last week in celebration of Bonanza's anniversary.

What Spotlight Series?? Check out all the details here >>

Customer Data: Essential for Encouraging Repeat Buyers

Most marketplaces like Amazon or eBay focus exclusively on promoting their brand to buyers. Amazon buyers rarely know which seller their product came from. As a result, customer loyalty is tied to the marketplace, not the specific seller.

Not only that, but these larger marketplaces don’t provide sellers with buyer information, so there is no opportunity for sellers to develop individual rapport with their customers. Without this personal connection, your success on these marketplaces is based on price, and price alone. Once a competitor gets your product at the same or better price, you become obsolete.

At Bonanza, our approach is different. As a seller-focused marketplace, we’re always looking for new ways to empower entrepreneurs to build a strong, lasting brand and create meaningful relationships with their customers.

I'm excited to share a new tool with you that is literally going to change your life. Seriously. "Yeah, sure. Okay, Grace," you say, rolling your... (continued)


Bonanza's 8th Anniversary: Recap

Our anniversary week has come to a close. Thank you for celebrating with us! We are very grateful to have such a loyal and supportive community here at Bonanza.

Did you miss out on on any of our Seller or Staff Spotlights this week? Lucky for you, we've got 'em all here.

 

 

 

              Reilly O'Connor                    James Spence                  Anna Piechowski                       Bill Harding              

West Ninth Vintage          Frog & Bear Creations    American Antique Hardware          DiVASHACK      

 

Thank you to those of you who participated in our Facebook scavenger hunt! It was a treat to see all the unique items you found on Bonanza. The winners are My Texas Treasures, Louise's Luxuries, and ccmom. Be sure to wish them congratulations!

Our mission is to empower entrepreneurs to build their dream businesses, while eliminating busywork. In the words of our fearless leader,... (continued)


Staff Spotlight Series: Bill Harding

Name: Bill | Title: CEO | Zodiac Sign: Libra 

What does a day in the life of Bonanza’s CEO look like?

My morning starts around 6am, when I descend a pearly staircase that stretches from the heavens down to Ballard. By 8am I'm ready to depart for Bonanza HQ. I hop into my pants (both legs at once) and jog to my car to improve the chances I might beat Jordan (our Chief Technical Officer) into the office (an effort lately in vain).

I open the door to HQ, passing through a sea of approving nods, as I stride toward my discontinued Ikea desk. I take a seat, and begin the work of delegating everything possible. What duties remain vary by day. It's usually some mix of attacking todo lists, building reports, and harassing people on Slack. A happy day for me is one with no meetings, and hopefully 10-15 items moved from my "TODO" list to my "TODONE" list. 

If I were to boil down my daily mission, I think it is to "listen hard, make the pragmatic choice." Even (especially) if it's a Hard Thing. As long as I cover that stuff, and ensure that the managers... (continued)


Seller Spotlight Series: DiVASHACK

A Business Model Built on Healing

For many domestic violence survivors, escaping an abusive relationship is only half the battle. Moving forward and creating an independent, self-sufficient life is a critical next step. Healing in the aftermath of domestic abuse is different for each survivor. For Diva, founder of DiVASHACK, her journey towards healing and rebuilding her life started with helping others to heal.

Diva's vision is to empower women to regain control of their lives and to embrace their femininity with her line of products. "With serious intimate partner abuse, it can rob women of their womanhood. They may feel that they are not beautiful and no one would love them," Diva says. "Helping them feel like a woman again is part of the healing process." She started selling lingerie and slowly added gowns and formal footwear. Now her booth showcases a wide variety of fashion, all meant to help women feel "fashionable, sexy, and comfortable.”

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when you first started and how did you resolve them?

One of my biggest challenges is maintaining my inventory. I source my products from China, and it’s not uncommon for suppliers to change or... (continued)


Staff Spotlight Series: Anna Piechowski

Name: Anna | Title: Full-Stack Devleloper | Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius 

What do you do at Bonanza?

I am one of the fine folks writing the code that makes Bonanza fun and easy to use. My specialty is programming user interfaces and experiences. I don't just make features that work, I make them pretty, too.

What project are you most proud of / what was your favorite project you’ve worked on?

My favorite so far was the overhaul of our stats pages for sellers. The old stats page had a lot of data for sellers that was not easy to digest or use. Working with our stellar designer James, we were able to make that data accessible, beautiful, and really fun to explore. It also gave me the opportunity to listen to our sellers and implement feedback based on their needs. I love working on things that put more power into our sellers' hands and give them more control over their business.

Which Bonanza tool is a best-kept secret?

I love shopping via the hand-picked lists! Our curator Emma obviously makes some killer lists, but our users continue to amaze me with the sweet lists they put together. They come up with... (continued)


Seller Spotlight Series: American Antique Hardware

A Knack for Authentic Restoration

American Antique Hardware, founded by husband and wife duo Sarah and Keith Chilcote, evolved from the couple's love of architectural restoration. As the economy exploded in their hometown, these two observed as charming homes were transformed into condos or "re-muddled" by other restoration companies.

Sarah and Keith wanted to retain the original charm of the houses they restored, but finding authentic hardware proved to be challenging, especially before the ubiquity of ecommerce. They started scouring estate sales, and quickly accumulated a massive inventory. 25 years and over 18,000 transactions later, they are selling to homeowners, restoration companies, collectors, and hobbyists all over the world, all while maintaining a 100% feedback score.

How did you find your way to Bonanza?

It was so many years ago, I don't remember. We were looking for an alternative because eBay fees were eating into our profits too much. Of all the alternative marketplaces, we appreciated Bonanza's mission and how you encourage sellers to pass on savings gained from the lower fees to our customers. Since I import from eBay, I don't spend too much time on Bonanza. I make all of the necessary modifications on eBay and then sync... (continued)


Staff Spotlight Series: James Spence

Name: James | Title: VP of Product | Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius 

What does a typical work day look like for you?

My time is split pretty evenly between research, design, and support for the development and marketing teams. Mornings are usually for planning, strategy, and conceptual work and afternoons are focused more on production, bugs, and collaboration.

What project are you most proud of / what was your favorite project you’ve worked on?

The customer marketing tool, which is launching soon. It gives sellers much more control over their own customers and how they market to them. It was personally interesting to me, as I have a background in relationship marketing.

What about Bonanza inspires your work?

The emphasis on entrepreneurship. It's a big part of our team culture and affords a lot of opportunity to come up with ideas, try them out, and improve on them. It's also very gratifying to know that the work we're doing helps individuals and small businesses be successful.

What are some cool projects you have coming up that you can share?

Many of the projects right now are related to the marketing tool – either refining features for launch or thinking longer term... (continued)


Seller Spotlight Series: Frog and Bear Creations

Finding Meaning After Tragedy

1989 found Diane Wine retiring at the young age after injuring her back in a work-related incident. Limited by her injury, Diane searched for alternative means of employment, not to mention a way to keep her sane during her lengthy recovery. An artist at heart, Diane took the opportunity to develop her craft. She joined online forums, subscribed to magazines, and taught herself the art of lapidary, the cutting and polishing of stones. Today, she's made countless pieces of unique jewelry.

How did you find your way to Bonanza?

I joined Bonanza when you first opened, but I wasn't active. I was on around 88 sites before I settled on Bonanza. As traffic picked up on Bonanza, I decided to move some of my inventory over, especially since listings are free and do not expire. It was a small investment for me to make with potential for high rewards. And with the tiered membership system, I can go as high or as low as I want.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when you first started and how did you resolve them?

I started selling only in 1989. In order to list an... (continued)


Staff Spotlight Series: Reilly O'Connor

Name: Reilly | Title: Operations Assistant | Zodiac Sign: Virgo 

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen for Bonanza since you started here?

Well, feature-wise, things have changed tremendously. We've added webstores, the affiliate network, TurboTraffic, shipping labels, direct credit card checkout... the list goes on. Of course, we've also seen tremendous growth at Bonanza over the past two years, in terms of users and items for sale. I would say the most impressive and inspiring change I've seen is how much we've doubled down on improving the quality of our users' interactions with the site. With this growth rate, it would be easy to focus exclusively on upping the numbers. Instead, we're choosing to focus on making the site easier to use, more beautiful to look at, and more perfectly engineered for successful transactions. Combine great features, an emphasis on usability, and a personalized support experience- it's no wonder the community is growing all the time. 

How did your role as a Happiness Producer influence your role as Operations Assistant?

Working as a Happiness Producer granted me access to a depth of knowledge about the functionality of Bonanza, the website. That knowledge informs decisions I encounter now about the... (continued)


Seller Spotlight Series: West Ninth Vintage

A Gap in the Market

West Ninth Vintage, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was founded about 5 years ago. Frank Iannucci and his wife had a hobby of renovating old homes on the side. They continually ran into the issue of finding light fixtures that fit the style and architecture of a historic home, but were also functional and updated for modern use. To solve this problem, Frank began designing light fixtures for the homes they renovated. About a year or so later, Frank quit his job in the finance sector to dedicate himself full-time to West Ninth Vintage. Today, West Ninth Vintage is run by a small team of mighty people and shows no signs of slowing down.

How did you find your way to Bonanza?

West Ninth Vintage is a unique company. We create our own designs and manufacture our lighting fixtures in-house. Because of this, we need to interact with customers directly. We were recommended to Bonanza by a friend who was using Bonanza to buy their own home decor and thought it would be a good place for West Ninth Vintage to explore.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when you first started and... (continued)


Bonanza's turning 8!

In honor of Bonanza's 8th Anniversary on June 20th, we're rolling out a week of great discounts, fun contests, and seller spotlights to say thank you for being a loyal user of our site! All of the information about our anniversary promotion will be available on the blog, so make sure you're checking it out every day for new information. 

During this week, we'll be featuring several sellers with discounted items on the homepage. Check out great deals all week long! We'll also be running a Spotlight Series in the blog, where we feature different sellers and Bonanza staff members each day. Looking for tips from some of Bonanza's biggest sellers? Wondering what a day in the life of Bonanza's CEO looks like? Tune in to the blog to find out.

We will also be running a daily Facebook contest. Each day, we will have a new item for you to find on the site and post onto Bonanza's Facebook page. Each day's theme will be available on our Facebook page and on the blog. The guidelines to participate in the Facebook contest are as follows:

  • Users must only participate on a single day to be eligible for the contest.
  • ... (continued)


Important Update to Google Shopping’s Publishing Requirements

Update 5.12.2016: Comments are still open for this post, but will no longer be monitored on a daily basis. For questions or timely assistance troubleshooting your listing traits, please contact our fantastic Support Team

Many of you may already know that Google Shopping is an excellent tool for getting your listings in front of millions of buyers all around the world. At Bonanza, we believe in the power of Google Shopping so much that we invest hundreds of thousands of dollars per month buying advertising on behalf of those of you who participate in our advertising program at a “Basic” level or higher. We’ve found that publishing your items to Google Shopping is an outstanding way to drive highly-motivated buyers to your listings.

Okay, so, what's the news? 

Google Shopping periodically updates its policies in order to provide shoppers with the best possible browsing experience. For that reason, Google Shopping will now require that all listings for new, brand-name products include the correct Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), plus the corresponding brand name. A GTINis a unique and internationally-recognized identifier for a product, such as a UPC, EAN, JAN or ISBN. This requirement will go into effect on May... (continued)


20 MILLION, Did You Say?: An Inventory Update from Bonanza

Hello, beautiful Bonanzlers. My name is Reilly, and I spend my days doing everything I can to improve the general business operations of Bonanza. It’s exciting to address the familiar faces I came to know and love in my previous tenure here as a Happiness Producer.
 


Maybe time for us to buy a bigger pull cart?

I’m out from behind the curtain today to share some thrilling news with you. This week, Bonanza hit a major milestone when we exceeded a listing count of 20 million unique items for sale—20,006,344, to be exact, but who’s counting? I’m sure it’s evident 20 million is a big number, but allow me to elaborate. 20 million listings is more Bonanza listings than there are people living in Beijing. 20 million steps would allow you to walk across the United States three times, though, I wouldn’t recommend doing so without a stunning collection of orthopedic footwear.
 

When I began working for Bonanza in 2014, 20 million listings was a lofty goal we only dared to dream of. It’s an exciting time to be a part of Bonanza. We’re indebted to each of you for your contributions and invaluable feedbacktowards building... (continued)


Sunny Skies for Bonanza Support

Happy spring, magnificent people of Bonanza. My name is Amy and I’ve recently joined the Bonanza team as a project manager with the mission of helping to improve the lives of our sellers.

While stormy weather continues to rage across the East Coast, the sky is blue and the sun is warm and yellow here at Bonanza HQ.* This uncharacteristically fine weather has us unboxing our warm weather clothes, switching off our full-spectrum light SAD lamps, and gearing up for what we anticipate will be a very productive few months.

In the spirit of spring abundance, I’m pleased to be able to share a veritable cornucopia of excellent news from our support team. I hope you’re as excited about these updates as we are.

April Fools Bring May Customer Support Tools

As many of you may already know, Bonanza launched three initiatives on April 1st - our brand-new CANTCHA security measure, as well as live chat and phone support for Titan Members. Unfortunately, our less-than-popular CANTCHA had to be retired after just one brief day in the sun. Too bad for CANTCHA, but luckily for our members, the live chat and phone support features are no joke.

While these... (continued)


Tips and Tricks for Writing the Perfect Item Title

We all know that feeling. You've got a great item that you're excited to list online, but when it comes to writing your item title, your mind goes blank. Or worse - you're getting information from so many different sources that you don't even know where to begin. With so many online marketplaces, it seems almost impossible to find one standard set of best practices for ecommerce conduct. When you try doing research on your own, it can all be a bit overwhelming at times.

I'm excited to share some helpful information with you, courtesy of our Seller Success Series. We’ve done lots of market research and number crunching about effective item titles to find out which strategies work and which ones don’t. Now you can learn exactly how to write your item titles for optimal success on Bonanza. 

In this article, you'll learn all about:

  • When to mention item traits like color or gender
  • Whether or not you should use capital letters
  • Why you should NEVER use punctuation in your title
  • and more!

Read Now: How to Write the Perfect Item Title


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