The eagle has landed.
After a few weeks of development and fourscore rounds of testing, we’re very excited to present our community with one Bonanza refreshed. In fact, this update goes beyond cosmetic changes, as we have also added true international support while streamlining all paths to slope toward our sellers’ exquisite wares.
Given the magnitude of these changes, I’ll break this post up into bite-sized morsels to briefly cover the assorted changes and the rationale behind them.
As promised in my previous blog, we have updated our home page in order to give every single user an experience that is relevant to them. This was a change that we put quite a bit of thought into, because from an aesthetic standpoint, we liked the old home page. But the feedback we heard repeatedly from new users (and even some old ones) was that, while the page may have looked pretty, it was hard to find stuff to buy on it. Our data backed this notion up, as we found that almost all of our home page sales were driven through search, rather than navigation. Simply put, what our home page had in aesthetic, it lacked in focus & relevance.
Enter our new design: where every unique user can have an experience that is catered to them. Whether “your thing” is Collectibles, Art, Fashion, Books, or some combination of other categories, you can now customize the home page to your tastes using the “Update home page” link (below the main home page image). While before you could see only hand picked lists, you can now see new items, featured sellers, or published coupons in the categories you’re interested in. We believe that this will finally give our home page a lovable personality, in addition to just a pretty face.
Similar to the above, our analytic (and anecdotal) evidence told us that our previous link structure was not conducive to shopping. As such, we have revised our navigation to be more category-based, making it consistent with most buyers' expectations.
In revising the navigation, we also found that the link soup previously known as “the buy page” was suddenly superfluous. When designed correctly, we believe that all paths should lead toward discovering the exact item you want to buy; in this light, it doesn’t make sense to have a single page labeled “Buy,” when that is really the soul of the whole site.
Bags Site Link Removed
The observant amongst you may also notice that, along with the new header, our link to the Bags Bonanza site has been removed. Our belief on this front is that, with a sufficiently personalized main-site experience, there will no longer be a good reason for us to build separate sites that cater to a particular category. This also means that we can dedicate more time to polishing the site experience on the mothership. While we will allow the Bags site to continue operating independently for the time being, we currently don’t have plans to update it, and will continue to evaluate its future over the holiday season.
This has been on our wish list for what feels like years. Internationalizing the site gives our sellers something for nothing: more sales, with no more effort on your part. We currently have translated versions of the site available in Spanish, German, French, and Italian, with Portuguese on its way shortly (must have got held up on its way through customs). We also have the corresponding currencies and domains to go with these new languages (e.g., http://www.bonanza.mx), which means we will be able to submit our international listings to an audience of hundreds of millions of new Google shoppers.
What does it mean to you? If you haven’t already set up your international shipping, dooo eet! Given that the batch editor will let you set shipping prices worldwide (or to specific regions) for many items in one fell swoop, it’s hard to imagine a good reason why we shouldn’t have 90% of our inventory shipping internationally (currently about 50% does…which ain’t too shabby itself).
This Here Blog
This isn’t our first rodeo when it comes to large-scale site modifications. We know that with tens of thousands of sellers and 10x as many buyers, we won’t be able to please everybody. But we do want to hear from everybody, and to answer every question we possibly can. To that end, we have taught our blog a couple new tricks: (1) for blogs where we expect a large response volume, we will now moderate comments to make sure that we keep the response volume manageable for the reader (2) we’ve now setup the ability to give specific responses to specific questions, and have those responses appear inline directly after the question. This contrasts to our old method of having to awkwardly respond to individuals whose remarks may have been buried 10 comments back before we were able to respond.
Long story short: we will answer and approve blog comments as rapidly as we can, but you can also feel free to contact us at email@example.com, where we will be on the lookout for your constructive feedback on how we can continue to build on this new site experience to work best for you.
Finally, we want to thank both our buyers and sellers once again for a superb August, with month-over-month sales up 10%. Usually growth like that doesn’t arrive until the holiday season, which makes us incredibly optimistic about what is to come between now and December (especially given a buyer base that has essentially doubled in size via internationalization). Yes, you rock.
Our next few months will focus primarily on improving the polish and speed of Bonanza, as well as spreading word about the site to press. With this batch of changes we feel that Bonanza has arrived at a point where most of the key pieces we need are in place, and now it is a matter of making our experience run like a pony, purr like a kitten, and leap skyscrapers within a single bound.
And that’s that! Thanks again for everyone’s support, and we’ll look forward to hearing from you soon.