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.
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)
Wait, there was a contest? Well, not really a contest but more of an opportunity. In typical Bonanza fashion, our selling community has delivered the goods. Since we announced the upgraded larger booth banners, Bonanza sellers have taken advantage of this space and have been quite creative. Below are a few examples of how you can be using this new space:
The pet immediately catches my attention which then directs me to exactly what this booth has to offer. Fun, clever, relevant and informative.
Nice picture. Good color, banner flows nicely. Again, this summarizes what I will see in this booth which entices me to shop!
Buying a computer online, you need to be informed. When I look at this banner, it covers my biggest concern, trust. I really like this banner, nice work!
You can upload an image up to 960x400. If you are looking for a free picture resizer, this is what I use: http://www.picresize.com/ There are many other banners that were just as good that we could not post because, well this blog just aint big enough. Great job Bonanzlers. Keep up the great work, you motivate us.
We have a busy week planned at Bonanza headquarters. This weekend we are expecting temperatures in the low 80's so we have to work extra hard to earn it! This week the Bonanza team will be working on:
- Continue to enhance reviews, product catalog
- Freshen look of booths
- Highlight subscribing members items in the product catalog
- Allow invoices to be generated via Bmail
- Allow community to mark bad pictures as irrelevant and earn tokens for doing so
- Allow community to suggest item description edits and earn tokens for doing so
- Move our office from Capitol Hill to the Seattle waterfront baby!
We are pretty excited about the new token opportunities mentioned above, not to mention the fun factor involved in browsing over 4 million unique items. We are also pumped about the ability to create invoices via Bmail. Many transactions start via Bmail so having the ability to invoice buyers via Bmail will help keep the momentum of the transaction, make it convenient for your buyers, and lead to more conversions for you! We are excited about our new offices as well. We are going to miss the diversity and spirit of Capitol Hill but we are fortunate to... (continued)
We just wanted to give you a heads up that we (programming team) will be doing some larger than normal site upgrades today. Most of the upgrades are things on the back end however there is one thing that you will be able to notice.
- Larger booth banner 960x400 (previous size was 725x105). Your current banners will remain just fine but if you wish to have a larger presence of your brand in your booth, you can upload a banner in the new size and it will show prominently on your booth landing page (this should be available later this afternoon, about 5pm PST).
Here are a few examples of booths with the new banner. Here is a booth that opted to use a banner where the image is smaller than the allowed 960x400. Here is a booth that used the full 960x400. The branding possibilities are endless!
During this upgrade there is a possibility that booth images may be sketchy for a short period and there may be some other site weirdness. If you notice such things, please contact us at support so we can get those things addressed asap. All programmers are standing by during this... (continued)
Legend says that nearly 127 years ago, Santa had a bunch of toys left over (cause everyone was really bad back in the old days) that were causing a riff between him and Mrs Claus. Mrs Claus had enough of it and threatened Santa with no cookies for dessert unless he cleaned out the workshop. With his mind set on snickerdoodles, Santa needed to cook up a plan, quick-like. That is when he shared his story with Buddy the Elf (his trusted 1/2 human 1/2 elf) who suggested that Santa have a mid year sale to liquidate his stock of toys. Santa applauded Buddy for his slick idea and even promised Buddy that he would eventually introduce Buddy to his real father in New York, in the future of course.
Today we call this yearly event the "Christmas in July" sale and right now is the time to get signed up and get ready. This community run event is a great opportunity to network with your fellow sellers, get involved, and have some fun! It is also a great way to promote your booth and the cost to participate is free ninety nine (free, no cost, free banners, etc).... (continued)
Today we've launched a handful of changes in how tokens are earned. Here's the latest scoop:
Tags now gone the way of the buffalo
Today we are bidding farewell to item tagging, which never proved popular enough with searchers to justify the time that our users spent tagging merchandise.
For browsers, the tokens previously earned through tagging can now be earned (and then some) by writing reviews and getting them upvoted (see below).
For shoppers, we've got projects in the works that use the Bonanza Catalog to allow you to slice and dice your search results more efficiently than tags ever could. We plan to have our tag replacement launched in search within the next few weeks, more details to be provided then.
Earn tokens by providing product insights
Meanwhile, we also launched new token-earning opportunities associated with product reviews. We are now offering 50 tokens for product reviews that are "exemplary." Exemplary reviews provide rich detail in discussing the product's pros, cons, tips, and uses. You can visit our product reviews leaderboard to see many examples of great product reviews that have already been contributed by the community.
We are also now offering 3 tokensfor... (continued)
As mentioned in our first blog about "Sprints," we have a list of goals that we are working on each week. "We" means our beloved programming team. "List" means "Sprint." The list is not set in stone and we cannot share everything with you because there are secret agents everywhere, but there are a couple of "heads up" that we can let you know about. Items that make the list are not guaranteed because, well, things come up (i.e. custom booth category weirdness, etc). This week "we" hope to do:
- Continue to enhance reviews, product catalog
- Take a pass at search to ensure we are doing everything we can to help our sellers succeed
- Strategize seller newsletters
- Investigate (and fix) reports of advertising button gone missing on page 2 and beyond.
- Investigate and fix eBay export errors ("non leaf" category, size errors, etc)
- Fix Batch Editor not playing nice for large booths (takes too long or does not complete tasks)
There are a bunch of other items on our list that we cannot share cause they are just that awesome (and secret). As mentioned above, things come up so do not be surprised if any of the above items are not... (continued)